Are you ever plagued by stomach pains after running? Or perhaps even during running? It’s not uncommon. More than 60% of distance runners have experienced stomach problems at one time or another.

It’s an unfortunate phenomenon that can be difficult to manage, even though it is a very real one. This article will provide some insights into how to avoid this type of discomfort and pain.

These are common reasons for stomach pain following a run, along with some quick tips to help you deal with it if it occurs mid-run.

What is “Runners’ Stomach?”

Runner’s stomach, a common complaint for runners, is when you have gastrointestinal distress after or during a run. You may feel the urge to run to the toilet, and symptoms include:

  • Painful stomach cramps
  • Grumbling sensation
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

You don’t want runners’ gut, or runners’ trots to happen while you’re running to the finish.

Common Stomach Pain after Running

There are many factors that can cause runners’ stomachs. Most often, the combination of all these factors results in pain and other unpleasant symptoms.

These are the top reasons that you might experience stomach pain after running. These are the most common reasons you might experience stomach pain after running.

Lower blood flow to the gut

Reduced blood flow to the stomach is one of the most common reasons for stomach pain after and during running.

Your body only has a small amount of blood. It tends to be more concentrated in the heart, lungs and muscles when you exercise. It is then diverted from your digestive system’s organs. Exercise can cause nearly 80 percent of your blood to leave the digestive system.

Digestive system function slows down when there is less blood flow. Because of gut bacteria, food begins to ferment in your stomach. This can cause gassiness, bloating, or cramps.

You may not feel these feelings if you are too focused on your run.

Hormonal changes

Exercise can be considered stress for the body. Your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline when it is under stress. These hormones can cause you to be in a state of fight or flight.

Your blood is diverted from your stomach to allow it to supply blood to your legs and arms to help you run away from danger or fight. Although it sounds primitive, it is true.

These hormones can cause discomfort and pain after a run.

Incorrect Fueling

It is important to fuel before and after running. However, if you do it wrongly, you can experience stomach pain after a run.

Pre-workout meals should be easy to digest carbohydrates. You shouldn’t eat too much protein, fat, and fiber. This can lead to GI distress. These compounds are more difficult to digest so they can cause problems if the blood flow to your gut drops.

It can also impact how you fuel your run. Many runners don’t like the texture of energy gels. This can cause nausea. The most important thing about energy gels or chews is to make sure you get enough water.

Gels and chews can cause water to enter the stomach. The gut can become irritable and irritated as you move. This is also true for energy drinks that have high levels of sugar and carbohydrate.

This can be avoided by practicing fueling during training. This is a great way to learn what works and what doesn’t so that you don’t get caught off guard on race day.

Incorrect Hydration

Your risk of developing unpleasant stomach symptoms can be increased by dehydration. Your body will retain water if you don’t drink enough. This can lead to discomfort.

Drinking water with an electrolyte booster can be a good option. Drinking water as it is can cause electrolyte imbalances in the body.

You could accidentally get gut problems by overhydration. You could get cramps or diarrhea if you drink too much water. It’s important to know what is right for you in training.

Pre-Workout Vitamins & Supplements

Pre-workout supplements can cause gastrointestinal distress. High levels of caffeine can cause diarrhea and cramping.

The body takes time to adjust to supplements. You should still be able use them.

How to Prevent Runners Stomach

Are you wondering how to avoid stomach pain after a run. Here are some great tips.

Strengthen Your Gut

A probiotic supplement can boost your gut’s good bacteria, aid it in absorbing nutrients, and strengthen it against possible threats.

Probiotics may be able to help reduce the risk of GI distress in a race. Talk to your doctor about this as they will be able recommend the best probiotic strains for you and the correct dosage.

Try Different Fueling Methods

Optimizing your fueling may take time. To find the best pre-workout fueling, which includes whole food and supplements, as well as mid-run fueling, you will need to test both.

Try different meals before you start training to see how they feel. You should ensure that the food you choose is high in carbs (about 15 to 20 grams for starters, and up to 60 grams for advanced training) and low in fats.

You could also run fasted without a preworkout meal and with only a preworkout supplement. To find the right pre-workout for you, you’ll need to test a variety of them. For example, some people can tolerate caffeine better than others.

Also, you’ll need to experiment with your mid-run fueling. You might not be able tolerate the consistency of energy gels for some runners, but that is just a matter of choosing the right brand.

Clean Up Your Diet

You don’t have to be cautious about eating pre-workout. You might be able to benefit from a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet if you suffer from stomach pain after running. Many people may prefer a low-FODMAP diet.

How to handle stomach pain during a race

What happens if you feel the signs of runners’ stomachs during a race? These are some ways to reduce the discomfort and keep it from getting worse.

Slow down

Your stomach will get more jostled if you run faster. Slowing down allows your body to breathe and allows blood to return to your stomach.

Take a slow sip of water

Do not swallow your water, as this can cause discomfort and worsening of pain. To avoid dehydration, sip water slowly. Try to use cold water, rather than warm, sun-heated water. Warm water can speed up digestion and send you running to the bathroom.

Bland Snacks

If your stomach is empty, you might experience abdominal problems during a race. You can eat bland snacks during the race if you haven’t fueled up beforehand, such as crackers or granola bars.

Ginger is a great choice

Ginger is great for nausea and sore stomachs. If you already have energy chews or gels, add a few ginger sweeteners to your bag.

If you feel nauseated, chew on the ginger. Although it can help to reduce nausea, it won’t necessarily solve the problem. Still, you should drink water but slow down and eat something bland.

Make a pit stop

Sometimes, all else failing, you might need to stop. This is not a shame–it happens even to the best! Be sure to know the location of the nearest toilet.

What to Do About Runner’s Stomach

It’s normal to experience runners’ stomach from time to time. Digestive upset can be caused by small changes in diet or not getting enough sleep the night prior.

If it occurs frequently, or every time you run, it is a sign that something is wrong.

You should immediately stop if you have any of these symptoms, along with runners’ stomach.

  • Unexpected headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of sweating

If you experience symptoms similar to runners’ stomach, you should see a doctor.