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Windsor Half Marathon training blog week 5 - 'runner's stomach'

George Roberts

Windsor Half Marathon training blog week 5 - 'runner's stomach'

Before I get into this blog, I’d like to apologise, because this episode is coming to you a little late. I’m talking about my runs ‘this week’ but actually am referring to ones I did last week (September 9 to September 15). I’ve had a hectic few weeks, and because I usually write these blogs at home in my free time, I’ve fallen a little behind - sorry!

But now, back to my suffering. I’m pleased to report that I managed a nine-mile run this week (last week), my longest so far as part of my training.

Highlights included: a genuine fear I was going to be sick with about two miles to go; me making weird noises for the last five minutes as I struggled to breathe and run at the same time; and sitting in a pool of my own sweat for about 20 minutes (pictured), the words ‘the horror’ repeating themselves over and over in my mind.

Yep, it was a toughie. We went up and over more hills, covered more miles and I lost partial control of my legs about three-quarters of the way in. I had also run five miles the day before, which probably didn't make things easier on myself.

The worst part, though, was the stomach pains afterwards which lasted for about two days. I did a bit of research and apparently, this is a fairly common running affliction - dubbed ‘runner's stomach’.

When you go for a long run, your body diverts blood from less important parts of your body towards your legs to ensure they are getting plenty of oxygen. It’s a fight or flight mechanism to enable us to dig deeper and run further from predators and such. The digestive system is one of those places deemed less important, which means that it essentially shuts down during a run.

If you eat a meal before a long run - which I had done about an hour and a half before setting off - that means your body will just stop digesting it. I don’t really know/understand what happens to the food then, but it resulted in me getting some pretty uncomfortable stomach cramps through the night and the following day.

It's a little bit different, I know, but at least I've learned something next week. I'll just have some peanut butter on toast or something before my next big outing.

The run was hard but it felt like a watershed moment. I really had to fight to keep going but I managed it. The hills were painful but I know they have prepared me well for race day. I’m not sure how quick I’ll be on the day, but I'm confident I will cross the finish line.

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