Home Chat General Chat

race nutrition and running

risris Posts: 1,002
Any problems anywhere other than the run?

Occurs on the run even when you doing _just_ a run?

Tried lots of different nutrition strategies - but it makes no difference?

It might not be nutrition.

What's your breathing like? Stitch, diaphragm type issues can be caused by breathing - sort of out of sync with the way you run - so the bottom half of your body contents (liver etc. below the diaphragm) are going down with your motion, while your lungs are moving up as you breath in - this stretches the diaphragm and causes it to cramp/spasm - which is what stick is.

Is the pain on the left or right side.

Of course, it's hard to tell what is really going on - and I could be well wide of the mark - but just want you to think about it from a different angle.


  • Options
    risris Posts: 1,002
    i've only done two races, one last year and one this, but the common problem i have had with them both has been a really tight, painful stomach and diaphram that holds my running back.

    i ran 91/2 min miles for a 5k last year and felt like i was going to throw up for the first two miles. i put it down at the time to eating the wrong thing (in particular some new things... bad bad bad... but for a sprint i probably should have eaten nothing at all).

    in training i had taken care to try gels and food on longer brick sessions runs to check they didn't make me unwell. mostly i ate a small amount of cereal-type bar and some water on the bike and then took a gel at the start of my run. apart from a tightness in my stomach over the first mile i usually had no problems and could settle into a rhythm and build speed toward the end of the run.

    last weekend something went wrong! i ate a small amount of cereal type go bar on the bike (twice i think, at about 25 and 50mins). i drank only water and then not a huge amount as it was raining. with 10mins to go on the bike i took a gel in the hope it would give me a little boost as i started the run. usually i wait until the run starts but i didn't want to wait for the energy. the bike was 1:10 for 24miles and i was tired but not flat out.

    the run started with a tight stomach and just got worse. i had some mild cramps on the first mile, which is sort of normal for me, but it was a stitch that did me in. i could only shift it by going steady at about 81/2min/mile pace, if i upped the pace at all my stomach and diaphram got very insistent. one guy came past with under a mile to go and when i tried to stick with him or catch him it was hideous. he beat me by 1min and that grates.

    my legs felt like i had more in them, i finished the race with them feeling good and i know from training that i can run bricks at 8min mile and even nearer 71/2 at a push. i know i can build speed over the last 1/2 mile to a quick finish. on sunday none of this was available to me and it was really frustrating.

    anyone got any advice? i've got another race in a bit over a week (marlborough sprint - 400m/50k/8k) and i want to see if i can go someway to fix it. i'm intending to do more running than cycling next week for a change.

    perhaps i should just do marlborough on water and see what happens!

  • Options
    TrisurferTrisurfer Posts: 228

    Same thing happened to me on my 1st sprint triathlon.

    Although I partly put it down to going off to fast in the swim, then constantly felt like I was trying to recover for the rest of the race

    I hardly took on any water during the bike and slipped lucuzade sport before the start, Like you say

    doing bricks and trying new things must be the way forward.

    Great question,

    I'll be following all reply's
  • Options
    clarkey30clarkey30 Posts: 270
    Im suffering from this big time at the moment and was going to post on it.

    I get a sharp stitch like pain just at the bottom of my ribs/diapragm on the right side, it hinders my breathing and makes me feel like i need to expel air which inevitably results in me throwing up the gel or water ive taken on board.

    It cant be due to food as i get no matter what, at windsor yesterday i took on less than half a bottle over the course of the race which isnt good!

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
  • Options
    diddsdidds Posts: 655
    clarkey - sounds like stitch.


    usual suggestions to overcome it include changing your breathing pattern to blow out on the OPPOSITE foot to what you do currently.

    oh look...




  • Options
    julesojuleso Posts: 279
    During my last 2 runs I've tried to just spend more time breathing in than breathing out. It appears to have worked so far. I was completely gutted at my first tri that a monster stitch made me walk half of the run course; definitely I'll be trying the breathing thing out at my next one on Sunday.

    I can't really find a proper rhythm when doing this but even a slapdash sort of effort does seem to bring some results. I tend to get it on the right (most people do, apparently) so I try to concentrate on that leg; breathing in during the majority of strides on that leg.

  • Options
    risris Posts: 1,002
    been away for a few days, usefully i spent it running in the mornings as a way to train and keep sane!

    after a bit of thinking... and jacks useful suggestion that perhaps i was looking in the wrong place for the answer i've been wondering about it in a slightly different way.

    firstly, to answer jack's questions - no problems anywhere else in the race... swim better that i hoped (26.40) bike good and quick by my standards (1:11 i think, ave over 20mph)...when i run in training, including bricks, no problems at all with stomach... not tried many nutrition strategies yet, i put into practice what had been ok in training!

    my breathing is usually ok but wasn't settled at cricklade, i have a bit of asthma but it wasn't that. stitch pain was on the right. the only time i've had stitches in running other than the two races was when i went out on a 10k with a workmate and he turned it up to sub-6min/mile pace. i lasted about 300yards! previous to that i'd been running 61/2 pace comfortably, when we pushed the pace it hit me on the right side and after 5mins of lighter jogging i was able to run back close to the previous pace.

    my current thought is that it might be tension, perhaps because it's a race, but also because i don't think i run as much as i probably aught to be. it can't be a surprise that my bike as good, i ride 4-5 days a week. until recently i used to swim 2-3 hour sessions a week. apart from a period a couple of years ago i'm lucky to run more than twice a week and that doesn't feel like it's enough.

    sunday i'm doing marlborough sprint. it's got a 5mile run so hopefully it'll be a goodun! i'm going to race only with water and i'm going to try to stay relaxed. i've run daily this week - steady paced, hilly, 4miles or so. hopefully it will pay off, but i think i need to put more miles down and get used to it.

    thanks to everyone who's added thoughts or comments - didds, the breathing out thing is a good one to remind me of. i think i knew of it but it totally slipped my mind at cricklade, but not if it happens again!
  • Options
    risris Posts: 1,002
    i hope i understand you because i think you have a point - sometimes if you are worrying about an injury or something that happened before then mentally you are already there. i need to go into the race on sunday relaxed, positive that it isn't going to happen and only worry about it if it does.

    tension can go a long way to driving some of these things. if i have got tight shoulders, ragged breathing etc then my diagphram won't be getting any help. sunday is going to be a great race - i've put in some extra running miles this week and it will pay off.
  • Options
    cammykcammyk Posts: 36
    Nutrition should not be an issue on a sprint. Big Breakfast and an energy bar and drink 40 mins before will get you through. A sip or two on the bike unless its really hot and you don't need a lot more. Well certainly i don't. You should be able to exercise for an hour-hour and half or so without eating.
  • Options
    danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    A similar thing was happening to me when I was racing a series of 10k's early this year. I could train well and regularly and not see anything bad happening, but the second half of a race became a nightmare. My legs had the fuel to go and my head said its time to go, but my stomach did not cooperate.

    I think it was just stress that was doing it. It could have been just running regularly for the last 6 months but I think it got fixed by forcing myself to run 400m sprints on the treadmill and keep a relaxed body. My hands/shoulders/arms HAD to feel like jelly. I'd been locking up my upper body and thinking that I'd somehow power my way to 6:30min miles. Once I'd convinced myself that I could sprint above race pace and relax, then racing while relaxed became easy. I haven't done a stand alone 10k since March, but next month I'll confirm that relaxed = fast.
  • Options
    I used to gets a stitch while running and mostly it was down to food - eating to close to a run and your body not being used to it.
    Basically I overcame it by:
    1. Train your body to cope - eat the foods - bars, gels etc - you intend to eat while training too. You should find your body learns to cope with it over time.
    2. Make sure you are properly hydrated - isotonic drinks etc.
    3. If you do get a stitch, put your arms up in the air while running. This stretches your diaphragm (I think) and the pain goes after probably a minute or so. You do look and feel a bit daft, but better daft than doubled up in pain. Do this as soon as you feel the onset of a stitch. I've used this hundreds of times and it's never failed me. If it's really bad you could walk or even stop and do it.
  • Options
    HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Hi, I used to have the same problem - stonach cramps on the run. I'd been following all the advice in the mags & in books about fueling up during the event and it wasn't working.

    Rather than keep banging my head against a brick wall I tried different things.

    Firstly I found no need to fuel up during a sprint event. A bit of water maybe but this is only for comfort as I couldn't take on enough to have any significant re-hydration effect.

    For OD though fueling up has helped. A good bowl of oaty crunch cereal with banana & milk 2.5 - 3hours before the race with a big mug of tea. This can be either breakfast or lunch depending on the start time. Only water & a little more tea during the intervening period, ocassionally an extra half a banana more.

    Clearly nothing on the swim except what I fail to spit out.

    Nothing on the bike for the first 5 minutes or so & certainly not until I've got into a rhythm. Then I drink SIS PSP energy drink at about 50g made up to one litre. The books say 1g/kg of body weight per hour in about a litre. This is far too strong for me to digest. So dilute it is. (I'f I'm going for a 3 or 4 hour run I still use the same dilution but get the extra calories from cereal bars or dried fruit). I drink through the rest of the ride but stop before the final five to ten minutes - I want it to digest before I start running.

    On the run usually nothing unless the ride has been particularly draining. Then I take a small bottle of energy drink at the same concentration with me. Probably a cups worth. I will drink this as & when I feel like it. Rarely finish the lot & often leave the bottle with one of the marshals.

    It may be the concentration & timing. Not too strong & not during the transitions works for me. Gels are a waste as they are too strong. I know you are suposed to be able to consume some without additional water but the gloop is still very concentrated carbohydrate.

    Hope this helps
  • Options
    FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Also read recently that to avoid stomach problems you should avoid any foods high in fibre before the race, for obvious reasons I guess. So white toast, pasta, rice the night before rather than wholegrain versions. Obviously when you're not racing then they're fine!
Sign In or Register to comment.