In the past, I used to occasionally get stomach cramps while doing long runs. To try an prevent them, I did a little research into it to see how I might best resolve them. Here are some things I found.
First, a stomach cramp is a severe pain in the abdomen area particularly in the area of the belly. For runners this could be a problem, as it could cause you to slow down or even stop your run if the pain gets to harsh. Often with a runner, this is not the sign of an illness, but something going on with the abdomen muscles.
Often the top cause for stomach cramps is shallow breathing. This is often what causes the great and powerful “side stitch” that runners come to hate. Shallow breathing is usually avoided once you begin to run regularly and control your breathing. Running involves a lot of rapid breathing, which causes the stretching and contracting of the abdomen muscles. In new runners, their body has not yet got accustomed to this, and frequently have to deal with this situation. Deep breathing is your best resolution for resolving this condition.
A second reason for stomach cramps could be your hydration plan or schedule. If your body gets dehydrated this too can cause stomach cramps. This is best practiced and addressed during your training runs, so your race will go smoothly. During races, you should slow and take a sip at each and every water stop, even if you feel you do not need it. This will go a long ways to helping to avoid the stomach cramp. Over the past year, I have started carrying a water bottle with me on long training runs, and use the same bottle for my races. Because I have ready access to water, it helps in managing this type of condition from occurring.
Finally, and the toughest for me, is proper nutrition before long training runs. Prior to races, I have a regimen, so this is often not an issue. However, prior to training runs, I often find where I haven’t eaten properly prior to the run. Foods that are slow to digest (beef, pork, & high fiber items) can be a cause for cramping.
Beyond these recommendations, if you continue to have stomach cramping, there may be a more serious condition, such as an unknown illness. You should probably have a discussion with your doctor to get him or her to assist you in determining a better course of action.