I started training for a half in October. I've stuck with my training program and changed my lifestyle and eating habits to make the most of my runs. This past weekend, at mile 5 of 8, a stomach cramp stopped me in my tracks! I've never had this before. It took about 4-5 minutes before it went away, but I was stuck not knowing what to do or how to recover. I ate a good breakfast and snack that morning, so I'm trying to figure out what caused it, and what I can do to recover if it happens again. Should you rub it? Will drinking help (water or gatorade)? Any advice? I'm scared this will happen on race day (two weeks from now).
Thanks so much!
One cramp in several months of training? Don't worry about it. Stuff happens. Just don't do anything on race day that you haven't tried in training.
NFPT Certified Personal Trainer
NFPT Endurance Specialist
RRCA Running Coach
GRAVITY Personal Training Instructor
GRAVITY Group Instructor
Power Plate Level II Instructor
2010 & 2011 Team Aquaphor Sponsored Athlete
Gatorade G Series PRO Lead Ambassador, San Diego
Another thing you can try--I know it sounds crazy, but I read it somewhere!--is to exhale hard each time you step on the opposite foot from the side of the cramp. (i.e., if you have a cramp on the left side, exhale hard on each right foot-fall.) I have occassionally had a bad one for which this doesn't work, but if I start trying it early, it often keeps them from getting worse.
I have found stomach cramps are a result of one of several things, either taking in cold water too quickly or eating the wrong thing and too soon before a run, depends on what you refer to as stomach, as it could be side stitches.
If truly in your stomach, think about how much time you waited before running and what exactly you ate, as this will definitely impact your run. Some runners prefer empty stomachs, I prefer one that has been filled right but before hand, (i.e. piece of string cheese, a kashi bar and full serving of veggies for weekday mileage and peanut butter and maybe banana and small part of bagel for long runs, mostly the PB though) at least a couple hours before, and depending on type of run, I stop drinking water about when I stop eating too...if before race, maybe even before that...just enough water to get down my prerace breakfast routine...
Side stitches are for me taking in water that is too cold too quickly, hurts right above the stomach near the rib cage...and luckily have only happened to me a couple times, the best thing I have to solve it is to quickly massage the area and walk it off, those are truly painful and regaining control over your breathing helps too... I had to ask too if that helps....
I know that I get stomach cramps when I'm dehydrated. That usually happens after about an hour of running, so I've learned to drink something if I'm exercising more than an hour and (since I still end up losing several pounds while exercising more than 2 hours), drink plenty afterward.
I've been running for about a year or two now and have always gotten side stitches for no rhyme or reason. I tried to adjust what I was eating, drinking, even the time of day I run. Finally I started doing strength exercises for my core, crunches, bicycles, planks...things like that. I rarely get them now, so that definitely seemed to help me out.