Why Do I Get Stomach Cramps When Running

When it comes to running, there’s nothing quite like the exhilarating feeling of pushing your body to its limits. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out, you may have experienced the dreaded stomach cramps that can sometimes accompany your runs. As someone who has dealt with this issue firsthand, I understand how frustrating and uncomfortable it can be. In this article, I will delve deep into the possible reasons behind why you might be experiencing stomach cramps when running.

The Importance of Proper Nutrition

One of the main culprits behind stomach cramps during running is improper nutrition. Running on an empty stomach or consuming a heavy meal too close to your run can wreak havoc on your digestive system. It’s important to fuel your body with the right balance of nutrients before hitting the pavement.

I personally find that having a light and easily digestible meal a couple of hours before my run works best for me. This might include a banana, a small bowl of oatmeal, or a protein smoothie. Experiment with different foods to find what works best for your body.

Poor Hydration Habits

Dehydration can also play a significant role in the development of stomach cramps during running. When you’re dehydrated, your body struggles to maintain proper circulation, which can lead to cramping. This is especially true if you’re running in hot and humid conditions.

I can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is to stay properly hydrated before, during, and after your runs. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day and consider carrying a water bottle with you during your runs. Electrolyte-rich sports drinks can also help replenish essential minerals lost through sweating.

Pace Yourself

If you’re guilty of starting your runs at a sprint instead of gradually building up your pace, this could be another reason behind those pesky stomach cramps. Suddenly putting your body into overdrive can cause blood to be diverted away from your digestive organs, leading to cramping and discomfort.

It’s essential to warm up properly before a run and gradually increase your pace. Starting with a brisk walk or a slow jog can help prepare your body for the intensity of your run. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

Breathing Techniques

Believe it or not, improper breathing techniques can also contribute to stomach cramps when running. When you’re pushing your body to its limits, it’s natural to take shallow breaths or hold your breath without realizing it. This can disrupt the flow of oxygen and cause tension in your diaphragm, leading to cramping.

Focusing on your breathing and practicing deep belly breaths can help alleviate this issue. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This will not only help oxygenate your muscles but also promote a sense of relaxation.


Stomach cramps while running can be a frustrating obstacle to overcome, but with a little experimentation and attention to your body’s needs, you can minimize their occurrence. Remember to fuel your body with the right nutrition, stay well-hydrated, pace yourself, and practice proper breathing techniques. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy your runs without the discomfort of stomach cramps.