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Stomach cramps on run. What am I doing wrong?

I keep getting stomach cramps on the run no matter how much I cut the carbs down. I'm worried if I cut out any more I'll just run out of energy in the run instead.

Typical race day is as follows (after a week of reduced training and pasta/tuna/rice/chicken meals)

Breakfast - Oats museli (2-3 hours prior to the start time)

Pre-race - sip SIS PSP at a low concentration (far lower than they mark on the bottles) and a SIS Go bar 30 mins before the start.

During the race - one Torq gel one the bike at the half way point plus plain water.

I'm doing sprint tri's (400m swim, 22k bike and 5k run) and last Sunday I didn't get the stomach cramps so bad but it still knocked 6 minutes off my normal time.

Thing is, I don't get these problems in training even when I do full distance bricks and follows the same fueling.

Any help please?


  • ashthetashashthetash Posts: 164
    Do you ever get similar cramps after swimming? Do you do brick training with swimming before a run or ride?

    I used to get cramps post swimming which I think was related to gulping air into my stomach excessively. Some times it would be a while after the swim session that I got the cramps but it was always within an hour. As I sorted my breathing out the problem disappeared. It may be that a simialr thing is happening
  • Swim to cycle is fine it's just the bike to run but I've never been able to repeat it in training.

    Is there any dry land work out that similar to 10min swim?
  • hi

    you mention that you are worried that cutting down any more on the carbs will lead you to run out of energy on the run. However looking at your carb intake on race day i would say that what you are currently consuming is if anything on the high side for a sprint distance triathlon.

    i suffer greatly from stomach cramps when going out for long runs but have leart how to prevent them...simply reduce food intake in the 6 hrs prior to running. I have done several sprint tris this summer (all fairly decent times, sub 1hr 20) and I reckon a bowl of cereal or oats or a couple of slices of white bread 3-4 hours before the start is easily enough carbs to be consuming on race day (i.e. no need for any energy bars, gels, sports drinks before or during the race) for a sprint distace triathlon.

    All the gels, energy bars etc are really designed for oly distance, 70.3 an full IM etc not for short tris. As long as you are fully hydrated (with water) and have had a small ish (but high carb) meal no longer than 5 hrs before race start then i think thats easily enough.

    you should aim to eat a largeish carb meal the night before your race about 7pm ish which will give the body plenty of time to digest it before race time.

    i reckon its highly likely the stomach cramps you describe are caused by the cocktail of energy bars, gels and drinks which you are consuming prior and during the shortish race. YOu mention you are worried about running out of energy...but has this ever actually happened in a race? I.e. i find that it is my legs which give way due to muscle fatigue from running/cycling which limits me not actually "running out of energy". These are two different things and the way to cure the former is to train harder not eat more food on race day. You mention that you dont get the cramps in training but i think this is because when you race you are putting a much harder exhertion on your body than when training and any issues like muscle pains, stomach cramps etc will therefore be much more apparent when racing.

    anyway above are my thoughts.....be interested to hear from others.

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Just a thought I used get severe cramps and gut rot, it suddenly ended when I quit using Hi5 energy products and switched to Powerbar. I've spoken to lots of athletes from various sports about this and there are cases of people reacting badly to specific energy products. A good study for a PhD
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    I switched the other way and solved mine!
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I can only echo the above..waaaay to much nutrition for a sprint, by definition a sprint is fast, blood most certainly in the muscles, not the stomach/digestive system, so to simplify you can load it with carbs til the cows come home, & it will mostly sit there until you stop, hence cramps slowing you down to make that happen.

    he body can absorb some carbs (I forget the figure) but it is limited & depends on the correct mix of fructose/glucose/polymer etc.
  • Many thanks for all the feedback. I'll give it a try on just a decent breakfast at the Highworth Sprint in a few weeks and let you know how it goes.

    I want to get sub 1:20:00 before the end of the year.

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