My passion for running along with my strong research and analytical mind, propels me to understand sports dynamics, training and sports science in different fields of sports. With involvement in mainly running and volleyball, using my knowledge learned from sports such as football and rugby league and from my military and personal trainer training experiences too.
With the recent debacle of my Singapore Marathon 2009, whereby I wasn’t able to fully complete my 6th Full Marathon due to abdominal cramps, it brought a huge interest to research and analyse what could have gone wrong or what really happened to me before or during the run that could cause such discomfort that I had to seek medical attention. I wanted to learn more and make the necessary changes and/or precautions to ensure the abdominal cramps do not severely hit me again during any runs or marathons.
With the google search engine, I found a few very interesting and informative articles on the topic of abdominal cramps. From the various articles, abdominal cramps are common among runners and it is pretty frequent. The common areas are
- he abdominal wall muscles (“stitch”) and
- the gastrointestinal system (GI)
GI complaints comes in the forms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, intestinal cramps, and stomachache and it happens a lot during running, whereby dehydration and pre-race diet are 2 key factors that might cause GI complaints.
“Abdominal pain while running is most often due to muscle cramps, altered motility of the GI tract, or a combination of the two. In some cases, cramps can be a symptom of heat exhaustion, which can be quite serious. Muscle cramps can be due to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, muscle fiber fatigue, reduced blood flow to the abdominal wall muscles and diaphragm, and irritation due to mechanical trauma from running.”
Reflecting back on my Singapore Marathon 2009, I had
– Museli bar before the run
– Water (not up to 500ml though)
During the run, hydration was taken along the route, except certain skipping certain drink stations with both water and isotonic drinks, power gel was taken on the 21 km point and bananas on the 30 km mark. From a forum discussion about “Bad Stomach Cramps while Running“, dating back to 2005, there was a person by the name of Eugene R. Allen posted on
– “stomach cramps are the result of what you eat prior to your run, how soon you eat before you run and how hard you go out and run”
– “experiment with what you can and cannot eat before your run”
With the 2 pointers in mind, questions were raised –
– Was the museli bar taken before the run suitable for me ?
– Did I have enough water during the run by skipping some drinks stations ? Should I drink regularly at all drinks stations ?
– Was my running strategy flawed because I pushed hard during the run yet my training and condition was not at its optimum and not ideal at all?
– What are the preventive measures or improvements that I would need to work on to improve my marathon running ?
As I absorbed on my research and analysis on abdominal cramps that I suffered during my marathon, it became clearer to me and would allow me to be improve my running and I will be back with a fight to conquer more full marathon finishes !