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What to Eat and Drink

To help prevent stomach cramps, consider what you eat before running, and see if there might be a connection, Galloway says. It might just be about digestion. Give yourself more time between eating and running.

"If you have a problem [with cramps after] eating 2 hours before, eat 3 hours before," Galloway says.

Also pay attention to what you eat and its effects on your running. "A simple carb by itself [such as a piece of fruit] and water usually is fine," Galloway says.

It's a matter of finding what works for you. For instance, Galloway says many people tell him they have gut problems after eating bananas, but not apples, before a run.

To prevent muscle cramps, McCall also tells runners to get enough fluid before exercising. His advice:

  • Drink 16 to 20 ounces 45 minutes before training.
  • Drink 2 to 4 ounces every 15 minutes during a training session.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are naturally rich in water.

How to Treat Cramps While Running

If you get a side or stomach cramp while running, Galloway recommends slowing down to a walk. "Do the lower lung breathing while walking, maybe [for 2-4] minutes. That can bring it around," he says. For stomach cramps, "often a burp or passing of gas will get rid of the cramp."

When a muscle cramp strikes, McCall tells runners to stop exercising, rest, and hydrate -- preferably with a sports drink that can restore their electrolyte balance.

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