Attn: Runners


Running has literally never come easily to me. I am not a born marathoner. Every single time I run, it’s a challenge. I enjoy running, sure; I look forward to it. But it’s not as if I strap on my tennis shoes and away I fly. It’s not like 10 miles will slip by without me noticing. I’m not one of those women who lives on a permanent runner’s high. [I’m not even sure what that feels like…]

Recently, I’ve been cramping a lot in my abdomen when I run. I’ll get through a mile or two, no problem. Then, all of a sudden, I’m under attack.

For example, this morning I set a goal to run 4 miles in preparation for the 5k my dad and I are running on Sunday. I ate a filling, well-balanced breakfast about an hour before my run. I hydrated well, too. I was about 1.3 miles into my run when I knew I wouldn’t make it to four. I’m stubborn, though. I didn’t want to quit right then and there. I rounded 2 miles and I decided to cool down.

I wish I knew what it was that makes my body unable to complete my goal. Am I overly hydrated? Have I somehow not had enough water? Should I have stretched beforehand (even though I’ve never stretched before a run)? Have I had enough to eat? Have I eaten too much?

On October 25, I set a goal for myself to complete 5 miles. I don’t know whether it was my determination, or my pre-planning that this would be the goal for the day, or the excitement of a new PDR, or the perfect combination of rest and diet, or whether the heavens opened up and decided to give me a little boost. But I’m always left wondering, why was I able to run 5 miles and feel on top of the world one day, and then cramp up so badly that I could barely finish 2 miles another?

When I experience the sudden onset of cramps, I try to breathe through it. Sometimes I hold my side, as if I can literally squeeze the cramp out. I usually take a few sips of water in the hope that that’s what I need. It seems that no matter what I do, the cramping doesn’t subside enough for me to feel comfortable completing my distance goal. I want to train for bigger and better races than 5ks, but I haven’t been able to top 5 miles thus far.

So now, I put this to all you runners out there who knows the tips and tricks:
What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing?
Or, what am I not doing that I should be?
Is there a way to lessen cramping during a run?
Do you recommend more or less hydration before/during a run?

I’d really appreciate your input on this one!


2 responses »

  1. When I was training with Team N Training, their coaches suggested eating a nice meal, rich in complex carbs (pasta!) the night before a longer run (for me that’s anything longer than 2.5) and before going out to run (say an hour) eat something lighter like a cup of yogurt. If you use a hip pack for your water and it has a pocket, toss in a small bag of nuts, half a banana, or even a small power bar to help get you through if needed. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your suggestions, Tamara! Those are all things to take into consideration. I’m glad you mentioned pasta; I’ve actually been thinking I need more carbs in my diet!

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