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How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon

by
author image Shelley Frost
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Marathon runners on the road. Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The 26.2-mile run on marathon day requires proper hydration and fueling both before and during the race. No matter how hard you train, if you don't treat your body properly on race day, you may face stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Any of the potential stomach problems make completing the marathon more difficult or impossible. Knowing your own body and what it can handle is key to successfully avoiding stomach problems during a marathon.

Step 1

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Woman running outside. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Schedule your marathon training runs at a similar time as the actual race. This gets your body accustomed to running at that time. You are also better able to determine how to eat before the race at that time of day.

Step 2

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Man eating fruit. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Test any foods or fueling sources such as gels or candy on a long run before the marathon. Never try a new food that hasn't been tested during a long training run, as you may experience unexpected stomach problems.

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Step 3

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Aerial view of a pizza with a slice cut. Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Avoid high-fat foods in the days leading up to the race. The fats can cause digestive difficulty.

Step 4

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Portrait of a woman eating cereal. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Eat breakfast about two hours before the marathon begins, combining carbohydrates and protein for energy based on your training run meals. Eating a few hours before the race reduces cramping or diarrhea.

Step 5

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Young man drinking sports drink outdoors. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Hydrate leading up to the race to prevent dehydration that can cause cramping. Drink 8 oz. of a sports drink before the race starts, to give the carbs enough time to help with your energy levels during the race. Waiting until later in the race when you're getting tired doesn't allow enough time for the drink to work.

Step 6

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
High angle view of toilet flushing. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Use the restroom right before the race. Having a bowel movement before the race may prevent cramps or diarrhea during your run. You also reduce the chances of needing to stop along the race route for a bowel movement.

Step 7

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Woman drinking glass of water outdoors. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Drink water with any fueling gels you use during the marathon. The water helps dilute the sugar in the gels, which can cause stomach problems. Diluting sports drinks with water also helps avoid intestinal issues.

Step 8

How to Avoid Stomach Issues When Running a Marathon
Salad on plate. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Eat real food within an hour of the race's end. This prevents stomach pains after the marathon. Real food may also help relieve stomach problems you may experience from the marathon.

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