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Drinking/eating while running troubles!

JTri's2010-05-02 01:54:27 +0000 #1
I've been a cyclist for a few years and really have the nutrition aspect nailed when I'm on my bike....but I started running a few months ago and find I have a big problem drinking water when I'm running because it gives me a terrible side stitch.

When I'm on a run of less than 5 miles I don't worry about it so much, and often put water in my mouth, drink a tiny bit and then spit the rest out. But lately my runs are getting longer, of course, and I'm going to HAVE to figure out how to hydrate! This weekend I have an 8 mile run scheduled and I hope to both drink water and try a goo (yeah, I'm optimistic if nothing else

How do all of you established runners drink without getting a side ache? Is there a technique I could try? Any hints are really appreciated!
KnottedYet2010-05-02 02:08:25 +0000 #2
Unfortunately, the studies I've read point to the volume of fluid as being the side-stitch culprit. (even in tests where subjects drank a non-absorbing fluid vs an absorbing fluid like water)

I guess if you are suseptible to side-stitches you'll just have to drink lots of little sips often, so it absorbs steadily and you're not asking your gut to carry the weight of a bolus of water? Hydrate a lot in the hours before a long run?

(it's the volume/weight that seems to trigger the stitch when drinking is involved)
KSH2010-05-02 02:01:33 +0000 #3
Well, for me it was just a matter of getting my body use to drinking while I was running. I do sip small portions though and space them out a lot. I can't run by an aid station and drink a cup of water.

For longer runs, I do eat Accel Gel (has a 4:1 Carb/protein ratio). It works for my stomach... but again... I don't down the whole gel at once... I slowly eat it over about 10 minutes. I do this to ensure that I don't dump too much in my stomach at once.

Good luck!
VeloVT2010-05-02 02:28:27 +0000 #4
I trained for a marathon this spring, then got injured 4 weeks before the race and couldn't run... But here's what has worked for me: for runs 12 miles or less, I rely on hydrating before and after the run and don't bother bringing water. For runs of 14 miles or more, I'll bring my camel back, and I do take small sips often. I have not had a problem with side stitches. However, I haven't raced yet (I have another marathon planned next spring -- same one I was going to run this year), and I know I'll have to practice taking larger drinks at some point because I don't plan on carrying water with me, so I'll have to rely on aid-stations. Bear in mind, most of the serious training I've done has not been in extreme heat -- if I were to run in hotter weather I'd probably start carrying water starting at 10 or 12 miles (but prob not much shorter than that).

Basically I think practice is the key, experiment and see what you can tolerate. I think I read somewhere that it takes about 20 minutes to absorb water, and that drinking more than 8 oz every 20 minutes or so is likely to cause stomach distress for runners... and unfortunately this means that on hot days/long runs, it's impossible to keep up with your fluid loss. However performance begins to drop at fairly low levels of dehydration, so you have to find out where that line is for you!

I also don't bother with gel unless I'm running 16 miles or more. The average person has enough glycogen stored in his or her muscles to fuel a couple of hours, so you really shouldn't need to worry about bringing GU on an 8-mile run. But sometimes I think beans/gels provide as much of a psychological boost as a physical one, and if that helps, go for it -- but if you have a sensitive stomach, may be better to skip it if you can. I find I can use some brands of gel but not others -- GU, strangely, bothers my stomach when I run, but I'm fine with Powergel and Hammergel. I have found that I can take these "in one gulp", too. But that's another thing that you just have to try and see what works for you -- it will likely be different than what works for the next person.

Good luck!!!!
KSH2010-05-02 02:07:45 +0000 #5

But here's what has worked for me: for runs 12 miles or less, I rely on hydrating before and after the run and don't bother bringing water.

Well, I don't know where the orginal thread starter lives... but this is not good for someone who lives in warm or humid environments. Vermont, you do not so this seems reasonable.

For me... I live in Texas. There is no way I could make it 12 miles or less without any water. The humidity is so bad here I am dripping with sweat 1 mile into a run. The heat is a killer too. It got down to 88 degrees yesterday and that was a COLD day in August.

I just wanted to point that out, because sometimes people don't think about where they are and if the advice would apply to their particular situation. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can be very serious. I would hate to see the original poster take what works for you and aplly it to them if they live where it is hot.
JTri's2010-05-02 03:03:27 +0000 #6
I live in San Jose, California and it can be hot here, but even if I was running someplace cooler 12 miles with no liquids would leave me with energy troubles. Of course, it depends on how fast you're running, and lets just say that it is gonna take me awhile to run 12 miles.

I'm going to start by taking frequent small sips of water. I'll try one every 15or 20 minutes.

I've read that after an hour and a half of running, you should start taking in some calories, and with my biking I have found that this is true for me. So, I'm also going to try "sipping" a hammergel on my 8 mile run this weekend. I think I could divide that into 3-4 sips.

I'll let you all know how it goes and thanks for the suggestions! I appreciate them all!



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