Race-induced stomach cramps

Hi all, I am wondering if anyone else has suffered the same problem as I encountered today while running the Cabbage Patch 10. Before I had even completed 2 miles I was suffering stomach cramps. Wrong time of the month for it to be menstrual so I assumed that I needed the loo. I suffered on for the next couple of miles totally distracted by my search for the toilet and then, blissful relief, the cramps stopped. I completed the race fine and have had no need for urgent visits to the loo since so I'm confused as to the cause. I know I started off a bit too fast. Could this be it? Any ideas and tips on how to avoid in future?



  • I always try and go to the loo before a run or race. Not much help I know but it seems to work for me.

    I ran the Cabbage Patch on Sunday nice flat course and could have had a decent time if I did not suffer from a knee problem. These things happen to us runners!!
  • Toin,
    It sounds to me like indigestion, probably caused by eating too much or too soon (or both) before the race. Once you start running the water in your system has two jobs to do, 1 = combat dehydration and 2 = help to digest food. If there isn't enough water available then the body prioritises according to the most urgent need which will be to combat dehydration, so any undigested food just stays put in the stomach. It’s a bit like running with a bowling ball in your stomach! You also feel very dehydrated.
    If you have eaten well on the day before the race then you will still have a full or almost full tank when you get up next morning, and that energy should last for around 2 hours of running. (in very round figures a full tank is appx 2000 calories and you burn up appx 1000 per hour at 7.5 min mile pace). This means that you don't need to eat too much on race morning, just a couple of hundred calories of something very easy to digest at least 2 hours before the start. My pre race “meal” is usually a couple of slices of bread & honey as soon as I get up, sometimes just a few spoonfuls of honey if I have an early start. Energy gels are ideal.
    If you are used to eating plenty before exercise then this idea may require a leap of faith so you would obviously need to try it first in training, but this is definitely what works for me. I have successfully completed many long distance triathlons using this strategy.
    One very important thing to remember is to eat and drink plenty shortly after finishing – make sure you have something within the first hour.
  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭
    This gets me occasionally & did again during the Cabbage 10 after about 8 miles. I don't know if there's any links for me for distance or preparation but, excuse the pun, it can be a rain pain in the a*%e.

    As with Martin, I'd recommend as little food as possible before a run & nothing too complex (such as bananas)immediately before.

    It's also common for runners to get the "runners trots" on long-ish runs. Not too sure on the science but I reckon that my stomach muscles have to work more than they are used to & it can feel like a washing machine in there sometimes.

    Hope that's cheered you up!

  • Thanks everyone. You've been a huge help and yes, Gavo, its cheered me up to know I'm not alone! I'm not very good at drinking enough water so I'm going to work harder at that and I'll take your advice on pre-race diet too.

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