Stomach Cramps (Again!)

by Dave
(North Carolina)

My son is a high school junior. This year he has had problems with stomach cramps. It usually hits about mile 2.0 - 2.5 in races. His 2 mile splits have been very good. He says it's not a stitch but a cramping pain. (It's hard for me to tell if it's a stitch or not.) Running with his hands up doesn't help.

He's tried pacing his breathing. It seems to bother him mostly on race days and has happened in about half his races, even to the point of him stopping and then starting again. It happens rarely in practice.

In fact, he's even PR'd in practice. He runs 10 miles on Sunday mornings without problems.

We've tried everything we can think of: changes in diet, antacids, more hydration, etc.
I don't think it's in his head: he's had some nice runs among the bad and, as we near the regional and states, he's pretty motivated.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your running question. Coincidentally I just answered another question with exactly the same topic!

I'll refer you to that answer, because I think it could be applicable to what your son is going through as well. See here.

It is typical that it happens predominantly in races. Races are always more tense. They often give you that light feeling in the stomach. Then, (see the link I just gave you) there are already forces at work in the stomach, pulling everything out of place.

What might help is spend the time before the race really trying to relax. With a teenage boy stuff like yoga and meditation is probably out of the question .... :) but some deep, deep breathing for five minutes or so to really become calm just before the race could do wonders. No guarantees, but it is definitely worth a try and it is a good way to prepare for an important race anyway.

I hope this helps and that he can get some PRs in real races!

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