Feeling stomach pain after running is common among athletes.

Studies show that around 30–90% of long-distance runners face this issue during workouts. Dealing with stomach discomfort while running can be tough, especially if you’re not sure why does my stomach hurt after I run.

That’s why I created this guide. It explains why this happens and shares tips on how to feel better.

Let’s get started!

Why Does My Stomach Hurt After I Run? 

There are a few reasons why you might experience stomach discomfort after going for a run, also known as runner’s belly. Here’s a closer look at why your stomach might hurt after a run:

  1. Blood Flow Shift: When you run for a long time, your body directs more blood to your muscles to keep them going. This means that less blood is available for your digestive system, which can slow down digestion and lead to cramps or discomfort.
  2. Bouncing Motion: Running’s up-and-down movement can irritate your intestines. This is especially true if you have food in your stomach that hasn’t finished digesting. This can make you feel like you urgently need to use the restroom.
  3. Hormonal Changes: Running triggers the release of hormones like cortisol, which can further mess with your digestion.

Understanding these reasons can help you take steps to prevent runner’s belly and make your runs more comfortable!

How Can I Address or Avoid Stomach Issues While Running?

Now that you know why your stomach might hurt after running, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

1. Dietary Adjustments

One thing you can do is take a look at your diet. What you eat can have a big impact on how your stomach feels during and after a run. Certain foods, like sugary drinks and high-fiber meals, might not be the best running buddies. Consider a low FODMAP diet that limits things like wheat and dairy.

You can also pay attention to when you eat and drink before you run. Some people find that eating right before they exercise can cause stomach pain. So, it might help to give yourself some time to digest before you head out for a run.

2. Probiotic Supplements

Another thing you can try is taking probiotic supplements. These can help keep your gut healthy and make you less likely to have stomach issues while you’re running. Some studies have even shown that probiotics can improve a runner’s stamina and digestion.

3. Proper Hydration

Of course, it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re running. But be careful not to drink too much water, as that can actually make stomach pain worse. It’s best to sip water regularly throughout your run and make sure to replace any lost electrolytes afterward.

4. Consistency

Even the best runners sometimes get runner’s belly.

Finding a routine that works for you and sticking to it during your training and races can make runner’s belly less of a problem. It might take some time to figure out what works best for you, but once you do, stick with it.

Lots of runners say that having a set routine before races, like eating the same snack before each run and having the same recovery foods afterward, helps keep their stomachs happy.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is runner’s tummy?

Runner’s tummy, also known as runner’s belly or gastrointestinal (GI) distress, refers to stomach discomfort experienced by runners during or after a run. It can include cramps, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and the urgent need to use the restroom.

Is it normal to have stomach pain after working out?

Although not everyone gets runner’s stomach, it is a typical occurrence. According to studies, this problem affects 30–90% of long-distance runners.

How long does a runner’s belly last?

Runner’s belly is usually short-lived. It typically begins about 15 minutes into your run and may last for a few hours after. In most cases, it shouldn’t disrupt your day and will clear up within 24 hours. However, if your stomach pain is severe or lasts longer than a day, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying conditions.

Final Thoughts

Runner’s belly can be a frustrating experience, but it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Many runners face this discomfort, and no magic bullet can eliminate it completely. However, you can significantly reduce its impact by making some smart tweaks to your routine.

Here’s a quick recap: be mindful of what you eat before your run, experiment with timing your meals, and consider a low FODMAP diet if needed. Probiotics can also be helpful allies for your gut health.

Most importantly, stay hydrated throughout your run and replenish electrolytes afterward. Consistency is key – find a routine that works for you and stick with it. Many runners swear by pre-race snacks and post-run recovery meals to keep their stomachs happy.

Remember, if stomach issues become a persistent problem, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor. They can help rule out any underlying conditions and ensure you’re on the right track to conquering runner’s belly and enjoying a smooth, comfortable run!

 

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