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Hello all,

I have been an on-again off-again runner for several years now. I find that nothing else gives me as good a workout, and I truly do enjoy it. The problem is that whenever I run for more than about 20 minutes, I get an extremely upset stomach. I can usually force myself to keep going for the remaining 10 minutes (I usually run for 1/2 an hour), but before too long, a trip to the bathroom is necessary. This cramping, etc. can persist for hours after my run, sometimes forcing me to stay home and not go to class, etc. In other words, it's quite disruptive.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? I am otherwise in good health, and my doctor told me to try "eating more fibre," but I already get enough according to standard dietary regulations. Besides, wouldn't more fibre make my problem even worse?

I'm starting to think I may have to give up running altogether. Any thoughts?

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What are you eating and drinking prior to running?
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This seems to happen to me whether I have eaten/drank hours before or directly before my run. I usually run in the mornings, so the most I will have in my stomach is a bowl of cereal with milk. If I run in the afternoons, I would most recently have eaten an apple, chicken breast and salad or something similar. Nothing heavy or rich that might cause an upset stomach. :(
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I usually don't eat before a run. I haven't had an upset stomach but it does seem to make me more sluggish. Have you tried not eating before a run?
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To be honest, I haven't tried that. I'm so used to waking up and immediately having a bowl of cereal for breakfast that to do anything else would seem strange, but maybe I should give it a go.
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Oh, and I usually haven't had anything to drink before a run. Maybe a few sips from a waterbottle, plus the milk that's on my cereal in the morning, but that's about it. I'm probably doing something wrong there too, but that's a whole other kettle of fish!
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You should think about eating after your run and see if that helps. Also how's your breathing, you could be making yourself sick be over doing it. For example, I've done martial arts for 15 years and the other day I was training pretty hard with some friends and not paying attention to my body, just what my opponent was doing. I almost started to hyperventilate, got dizzy and felt awful for almost 20 minutes. Maybe you should only go for the twenty minutes for a bit and see if your body adjusts. Pushing yourself through the next ten minutes might not be what your body needs right now.
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That's a common misconception. Reality is, higher fiber foods like fruits/veggies, whole grains have a lot of "bulky" fiber. In addition to the great things that fiber itself does in soaking up toxins and 'cleansing' your intestines, it also moves slower and is best designed for your body to adapt to a 'regular' routine. That being when your body becomes accustomed to getting up and going for a run, after awhile you'll notice you can take a bathroom trip before the run and have it out of the way, literally and figureatively.
The dilemmas with the 'average' or even the 'acceptable' American diet is there is still a big amount of greasy stuff and animal products. Those types of foods are what gets your intestines "going", so to speak. There's no bulk to those foods and they trip through your system quickly.
That being said, I'd recommend exactly what getgoin is saying and eat the dairy or meat after your run. If you absolutely need something in your stomach to run, try a banana or half an apple. The food in your stomach isn't going to help your run anyway. Your stomach will slow down digestion during a run so having a meal in there is not going to 'fuel' your run, it's the meals 8-12 hours before a run that really give you the best benefits. So I'd recommend really concentrating on keeping the animal based foods to the meals right after a run and up to 12-hours before your next run. Then keep the meals in the 12-hours prior to a run on the lighter side and with a vegetarian tilt.
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Thanks for the advice from all who offered it. :)

I have tried running on an empty stomach a few times in the past week or two, and it DID seem to help. I experienced some pretty bad "stitches" in my side during one of these empty-stomach runs, but that may have been unrelated.

So it looks like I will try to stay away from food pre-run (or at least dairy!) and see how things go. More incentive to get out of bed and get to the gym early in the morning, I guess! ;)
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Make sure your hydrated, daily. I'm not saying drink a liter of water right before you run, just drink all day. You should be drinking all most a gallon of water a day, depending on your weight.
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When you push yourself too hard, your body takes blood away from your intestines to make up the difference. So your stomach does have enough blood to digest anything in it, the food sitting there will give you a stomach ache.
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A granola bar bar (or 2) can be a good substitute for a cereal junkie. Thats what I often have before a morning run.
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A couple things come to mind...first, pre-race jitters so called, but ok...maybe not.

Here are a couple of steps to take, some things that helped me back in the day.

Do a colon cleanse. Yes, it sounds very unconventional, but if your diet has been bad in the past, it is possible that buildup could be there. And it is aggravated by a thorough dose of pavement pounding running. I have to say that 5-6 years ago this eliminated the chronic upset stomach that I experienced when running, and the upset stomachs I got even when I wasn't running.

Second, what you eat before you run is a big factor. Those people that say they don't eat anything...foolish. But you don't want to eat the wrong thing. When you get up in the morning, drink a couple large glasses of water, some hot tea or coffee to go with breakfast. Then eat some oatmeal. Oatmeal is great with a little skim milk. Some brown sugar too if you like. Very easy on the system and great fuel. Avoid a lot of fat and copious amouts of protein, althogh protein is needed too.
Wait 45 minutes to an hour before going out and let it settle.

Experiment a bit with that...good luck.
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my daughter is 17 and has run for 7 years. about 18 mths ago started to experience severe stomach cramping and vomiting after a 60 second race. went to several drs and now think we have an answer. went to a PT who specializes in pelvic floor pain, particularly women. She has diagnosed her with connective tissue restriction in her lower abdomen. This could be from an injury to the area or overuse and is causing blood flow restiction during exertion and therefore the pain. treatment will be myo fascial release. which is basically massaging the area .
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