Runner’s Abdomen: What Causes It and Prime Tricks to Keep away from It

Working is a high-impact sport, which signifies that not solely are our muscular tissues and joints absorbing the load, however our organs are additionally being bounced round. Is smart that this fixed movement may result in digestive points for a lot of runners.

Usually we speak about this in relation to runners’ trots or much less pleasantly named runners’ diarrhea.

However the reality is you don’t must have a full-blown toilet scenario to have some fairly uncomfortable emotions.

There are a selection of potential causes and options to abdomen pains whereas working that apply whether or not you’re a brand new or skilled runner. It will probably occur to us all, so let’s attempt to forestall them or a minimum of handle the signs from a ache under your rib cage to proper within the intestine.

stomach cramps while running

What’s Runner’s Abdomen?

When gastrointestinal (GI) misery happens throughout a run or different intervals of train, it’s known as “runner’s abdomen.” This situation causes cramping, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and ache, along with different GI misery signs. Different names for these signs embody runner’s trots, runner’s stomach, or runner’s diarrhea.

The title ‘runner’s abdomen’ in all probability got here from the sheer variety of long-distance runners who expertise digestive-related signs. In actual fact, it’s estimated to have an effect on between 30 and 90% of distance runners, with youthful folks reporting it extra steadily, in response to a examine printed in Sports activities Med in 2014. These signs can have an effect on each sexes equally.

Working is essentially the most studied type of train that may trigger these digestive signs, although it isn’t the one one. In response to some research, workforce sports activities, intense anaerobic train, and sprinting can all end in GI issues. These relationships have, nonetheless, solely not too long ago been the topic of small, experimental research.

There are commonalities among the many causes of runner’s abdomen even if exercise-induced GI signs are extremely individualized and might vary from being merely annoying to impairing efficiency.

Trigger Of Abdomen Cramps Whereas Working

It’s essential to know there’s a distinction between a facet sew whereas working and a abdomen cramp. We’re targeted on the intestine right here and the main causes your abdomen would possibly harm throughout a run.

Results of Train on the Physique

Once you have interaction in bodily exercise like working, your physique diverts blood circulate away from the digestive system to produce the muscular tissues with oxygen. This redirection of blood circulate can decelerate digestion, resulting in the build-up of gasoline and abdomen discomfort.

Plus, the repetitive influence of working can jostle the contents of your abdomen and intestines, additional exacerbating the discomfort.


For those who’re nervous a few new long term, a specific exercise or race day it’s more likely you’ll have abdomen misery.

As your nervousness stage rises, the physique begins pumping out extra cortisol (stress hormone). A hormone that’s already going to extend through the run, however which may have the impact of accelerating abdomen acid.

Full Abdomen

I speak lots about fueling previous to your runs, however a abdomen that’s overloaded isn’t going to really feel nice, both.

Blood circulate is being diverted out of your digestive tract to your muscle to make sure you have the power that you must preserve working. However meaning meals will not be being damaged down effectively, and your abdomen ultimately feels overworked resulting in belly cramps.


It’s not simply your muscular tissues that want water to maintain functioning. Your digestive system goes to decelerate, and ultimately, that’s going to result in abdomen cramps. It is because dehydration can decelerate digestion and exacerbate the danger of growing runner’s abdomen.

Notably in case you are utilizing power gels (as you must) to gas your runs. You might be rising the prospect of discomfort by not hydrating properly.

Be sure that to drink sufficient fluids all through the day, particularly earlier than and after your run. It’s additionally essential to sip water throughout your run if it’s longer or carried out in scorching climate.

3 of the most common nutrition mistakes runners make and how to fix them

Lack of a Heat Up

For those who’ve learn anything I’ve written, you aren’t shocked to see this on the checklist.

A dynamic heat up has been proven to forestall accidents, lubricate joints and make the general effort really feel simpler. The tougher the run is in your physique, the shallower your respiratory will likely be, which then results in cramping.

Too A lot Sugar

Sports activities drinks are an incredible software for serving to us to remain on prime of electrolytes and forestall different kinds of muscle cramps and fatigue. BUT there may be lots of information to indicate that an excessive amount of goes to result in abdomen points.

Sports activities drinks are designed to extend hydration. Sucking down extra means the physique is holding extra water on your muscular tissues which may trigger a sense of bloating and then you definately add in a bunch of gels and it’s a recipe for runner’s intestine.

30-60 grams of sugar per hour of train is what’s often beneficial. When you have lots of abdomen points it might probably assist to fluctuate the supply. Which means sipping a drink like Tailwind, consuming ClifBloks and dates…so that you fluctuate the kind of sugar through the run.

Checkout my fueling concepts for delicate stomachs >>

Poor Type

One other contributing issue to runner’s abdomen is poor type and posture throughout train. Incorrect approach can put pointless stress on the abdomen and belly muscular tissues, resulting in discomfort and even cramping.

Just be sure you preserve correct working type, along with your chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, and core engaged. This alignment may also help cut back the pressure in your belly space and decrease the danger of growing runner’s abdomen.

How one can Stop Abdomen Cramps Whereas Working

Nice now we all know why our physique would possibly throw off this disagreeable sign that one thing is amiss throughout our run. If it’s taking place to you greater than as soon as in awhile it by no means hurts to get medical recommendation.

However listed below are some issues that may assist:

Select the Proper Meals

Choosing the proper meals earlier than your run could make a major distinction in stopping abdomen discomfort. Go for simply digestible carbohydrates like complete grain toast with nut butter, oatmeal with fruit, or a smoothie with protein powder.

Consuming a balanced meal that features a mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and a small quantity of wholesome fat can present your physique with the required gas to maintain your exercise.

Keep away from high-fat and high-fiber meals in your pre-workout meal, as these can decelerate digestion and probably result in abdomen discomfort. Hearken to your physique and experiment with totally different meal concepts to search out what works finest for you.

Meals Timing

For those who’re consuming a full meal then wait 90 minutes to 2 hours earlier than working. This provides your physique sufficient time to interrupt issues down and doesn’t ask your abdomen to proceed working with much less blood circulate.

Most individuals will do tremendous with a small snack previous to a run or perhaps a small breakfast of 100-200 energy that accommodates easy carbs. Like a slice of sourdough bread and a tablespoon of nut butter.How To Prevent Stomach Cramps While Running

Hold a Meals Log

Begin holding a fast log of what you eat and drink earlier than a run. Additionally an incredible thought to notice what you eat the night time earlier than a long term, as that may play a task.

It may very well be that particular meals are aggravating your abdomen and that reveals up through the run.

Milk is a particularly widespread situation, which is smart when visualizing that scorching milk curdles!

You may additionally discover that you just’re consuming slightly extra fiber near the run than you thought or that you just don’t do as properly with lots of fats pre-run. It really works nice for many people doing simple lengthy runs, however that doesn’t imply it’s finest for you.

BONUS: Taking a probiotic has helped lots of our athletes resolve points with the intestine whereas working. It really works to enhance the well being of your intestine, which goes to minimize points.

Keep Hydrated

Along with fueling, correct hydration is essential to stopping runner’s abdomen throughout your exercises. Drink sufficient water all through the day main as much as your run to make sure you’re adequately hydrated.

Throughout your run, it’s important to sip fluids commonly to keep up hydration ranges. In case you are working for longer durations or in scorching climate, take into account incorporating electrolyte-rich drinks for replenishing misplaced minerals.

Hydration doesn’t cease after your run. It’s essential to proceed hydrating post-workout to help in restoration and replenish any fluids misplaced throughout train. Water, coconut water, or sports activities drinks can all be good choices for rehydration.

Keep in mind that everybody’s hydration wants are totally different, so take note of your physique’s cues and regulate your fluid consumption accordingly. Thirst will not be at all times a dependable indicator of hydration standing, so it’s essential to drink fluids even earlier than you’re feeling thirsty.

Sip, Don’t Guzzle Electrolytes

Staying hydrated all day lengthy is essential. The physique is water and it wants it for your entire organs to perform at their finest, plus a dehydrated muscle is extra more likely to be overworked and tada…cramp.

However throughout your run it’s additionally essential to just remember to sip moderately than guzzle.

Keep away from Caffeine

Espresso or different types of caffeine can stimulate the digestive tract. I imply lots of you understand this as a result of it makes you…properly go!

Clearly through the run that activation together with the acidity can result in uncomfortable abdomen aches and pains.

Scale back Your Effort

If the cramps are approaching persistently on simple runs then it’s typically a very good signal you’re nonetheless working too arduous on your present health stage.

Keep in mind that simple runs are designed to construct your cardio base, serving to to extend your endurance and total health. They don’t seem to be days to be targeted in your watch. Checkout these ideas for working in zone 2.Causes of Stomach Cramps While Running

Cease with the NSAIDs

I’ve really carried out a complete article on the risks of taking ache relievers previous to working. However for our function right here what that you must know is that this may very well be the reason for your facet cramps or stitches!

A examine of extremely runners discovered that those that had been taking NSAIDS upfront of ache, “simply to be secure”, ended up feeling worse through the run and had been extra more likely to take care of abdomen upset.

Observe Higher Respiration

If a cramp comes on in the course of a run, strive slowing right down to a stroll. Then begin taking some deep stomach breaths.

We wish to get as a lot oxygen in to the physique and to all the muscular tissues as attainable. Plus, that motion deep respiratory tells the physique it’s alright to chill out and we would like leisure ASAP.


You might expertise much less digestive misery whereas participating in endurance workout routines in case your intestine is wholesome and you’ve got common bowel actions. Probiotic dietary supplements may also help your intestine change into stronger and cut back the frequency of loo breaks throughout train.

A 2014 examine discovered that taking probiotic dietary supplements for 4 weeks elevated runners’ endurance and digestion when exercising in scorching climate. The same 2019 examine discovered that probiotics decreased the gastrointestinal signs skilled by marathon runners.

When to See a Physician

For those who steadily expertise runner’s abdomen, you could be affected by a situation unrelated to working. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac illness have signs which can be akin to runner’s stomach, however they’re attributable to various things and actions. For those who expertise any of the next indicators, you must seek the advice of your physician:

  • Diarrhea and cramping episodes that happen extra steadily than as soon as per week
  • Power constipation
  • Nausea, gasoline, and bloating, no matter working
  • Bowel actions which can be typically runny
  • Blood in your stool

Your physician will talk about your signs with you to find out whether or not they’re a results of working or a special analysis.

Hopefully the following pointers enable you to forestall future abdomen cramps whereas working!

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Cause of Stomach Cramps While Running

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