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Why Do the Abdominal Muscles Ache After Running?

author image Jesica Salyer
Jesica Salyer graduated from Midwestern State University with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology. She has 10 years of experience in volleyball mentoring, four years working in fitness training and coordination, and experience playing collegiate volleyball for Rutgers University. She also created RunOnOrganic.com and co-founded Further Faster Forever, a community created to encourage active individuals to challenge themselves.
Why Do the Abdominal Muscles Ache After Running?
Your abdominals are the centerpiece to all movement. Photo Credit Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Abdominal pains, including muscle aches, commonly plague runners. Though your legs are the prime movers when performing a running stride, your abdominals are engage, too. Experiencing this specific ache is not necessarily something to be worried about, as it is the way your body copes and adapts.

Trauma to Your Connective Tissue

Any time that you implement a new exercise program—or even one new move into your workout routine—your body will undergo a period in which it adapts to the new challenge. Ultimately, it is positive to challenge yourself physically, but your body will undergo a period of trauma or aching. This is a time in which your body reacts to changing external circumstances. Your abdominal muscles become contracted and tense while running because these muscles maintain balance and allow your trunk to twist back and forth while your arms are in motion.

The Physiology of Soreness

Soreness sets in one to two days after the activity that triggered the trauma. This soreness can manifest in muscle tightness, pain upon applied pressure and pain when extending or contracting your abdomen and trunk.

Soreness in the abdominal area is common if you have just begun running or have recently increased the intensity of your running. Practicing yoga, stretching or applying natural muscle rubs can decrease the longevity of this soreness.

Muscle Fatigue

Fatigue differs from soreness in that it is a result of cumulative stress and taxing on the given body part. Abdominal fatigue is likely to occur in runners who conquer long distances. For example, marathoners and ultra marathoners are more likely to experience this fatigue than those taking on shorter distances.

The presence of fatigue is also based upon your fitness level and muscular endurance. Regularly stretching before and after running will expand the time in which you can run without being plagued by fatigue.

How to Minimize These Symptoms

Though slight aches in the abdomen are to be expected with workout routines new to your body, these pains can be controlled and diminished if you prepare your body adequately. Always stretch before and after running. Make sure to include both static and dynamic stretches. Static stretches are those performed by holding a certain posture, whereas dynamic stretches are those performed by being in motion.

One dynamic stretch for abdominal muscles is a trunk twist. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended outward to your sides. Use your arms to twist your abdomen back and and forth.

Additionally, strengthening your core muscles will prevent the ache from recurring in the future. Incorporate regular strength-training into your fitness routine, engaging in core moves such as planks, crunches and V-ups.

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