You thought the actual running was supposed to be the hard and painful part of this sport. If your lungs, legs, feet and stomach are fine during the run, why are you getting stomach pain after running?
Stomach Pain During Your Run
Most runners are familiar with side stitches -- that intense, take-your-breath-away pain you can get during your run.
Side stitches aren’t a sign of serious trouble, but they can derail your run in record time. One of the biggest culprits is eating or drinking too much right before a run.
But what causes stomach pain to set in after a run right when you think you are in the clear?
The Two Types of Post-Run Stomach Pain
Look, running isn’t for sissies. It can be hard work, and it can make you want to quit almost every time you go out there.
So why do we do it? Because we’re crazy, and we all get some type of enjoyment from running, even if we can’t quite pinpoint what it is.
But one thing all runners can agree on is that stomach pain stinks. Post-run stomach pain is a common complaint with runners and it can usually be chalked up to two reasons -- abdominal muscle cramps and gastrointestinal distress.
Abdominal Muscle Cramps
Stomach cramps don’t always happen mid-race. Sometimes they don’t hit until shortly after your run.
If you do a longer run than you are used to, you might experience some cramping afterward. If you’ve tackled many miles without drinking water along the way, you might be slightly dehydrated too, which can cause cramping and stomach pain.
Dehydration is nothing to toy around with. We’ve all seen runners crossing the finish line and puking minutes later because their stomachs were so messed up by their runs.
Keeping hydrated helps you avoid that stomach pain. If you are experiencing cramping, pain or vomiting after a run, take a long, hard look at your fluid intake.
If you’re running in hot weather or taking on a long run, you need to make sure you hydrate before you head out the door and throughout your run. If it isn’t race day and there’s no water stops along your route, carry a water bottle in your hand or invest in a good hydration belt.
Gastrointestinal Distress Can Be a Mess
Gastrointestinal distress can strike fear in any runner’s heart. One minute you’re sailing along, the next minute, you need to find a bathroom and quick.
If gastrointestinal distress is hitting you post-race, thank your lucky stars it isn’t hitting you mid-run when the only thing available is a smelly portable toilet that 100 other runners have used for their identical problem. Even so, getting the so-called post-race runs isn’t fun either.
If you are getting post-run diarrhea, the distance you are running may have something to do with it. When you are running hard and keeping it up for a long distance, your body is under stress and less blood flow reaches your GI tract.
That can lead to problems with absorbing water and any fuel, like energy gels, that you take in during your long run. What you need to do before a long run is baby your gut.
Before your next long distance run, cut back on fiber and stick to foods that encourage constipation, like bananas, apples and bread.
Find What Works For You
Finding a solution that helps you with your abdominal pain after running may take some experimenting. But once you find something that works for you, stick with it.
Running is always going to be uncomfortable, but there’s no reason you have to endure regular post-race stomach pain after running in your quest to be fit.