A friend of mine is beginning to train for her first sprint tri and is having issues... The following is what she sent me, but I don't know how to help her. Any advice? Thanks!!!!
Also, I have been so frustrated with working out, just don’t have the motivation. I have been better this week, but I went to spinning class yesterday at lunch and got such bad stomach cramps. I have had this in the past. It is so frustrating. I seriously had to leave the class half way through and splash cold water on my face. I don’t know if I just get overheated? I drank water throughout the morning before class to try to prevent this from happening. The same thing happens to me when I run though also. It is like after 30 minutes I hit a wall. Have you heard of this before? Any suggestions of what I should do? I don’t know if I am deficient in something? I ate a banana and oatmeal for breakfast yesterday, so the potassium from the banana should have helped with the cramping, I just don’t know. Sorry to cry to you, but I just don’t know what else to do. It is hard to motivate myself to go work out when I know that I end up uncomfortable, you know?
If she ate a banana and oatmeal for breakfast, didn't eat anything else before her lunchtime workout, and just drank water all morning, that could explain why she is getting the cramping. Has she tried eating something mid-morning or having an energy gel 15 minutes before her swim class or run? There's more that we could consider but this is my first thought.
I used to have chronic side-stitching problems when running, and I found that potassium did not help me. Every runner is different, but for me I can usually prevent that kind of cramping by making sure my stomach is empty before I run. If she is drinking a bunch of water right before the run, or eating any kind of protein within 2-3 hours of the run, that is probably the culprit. I would recommend she only eat a very light carb snack at least 60-90 min beforehand, then only sip on liquids until her workout. Personally, if I can feel that I have any food or liquids in my tummy it pretty much guarantees side stitching. If she is waking up and running first thing in the morning, she might want to drink 8 oz of water but skip breakfast altogether. the bottom line is going to be trial and error to see what works for her. Best of luck.
The first two posts, which provide nearly opposite advice, demonstrate that nutrition is tricky and very personal. Some combination of the above advice might work: eat multiple small meals combining protein, carbs, and simple sugars (PB&J is my personal favorite), but don't eat right before working out; and, hydrate before working out, but don't drink to the point of feeling bloated. Also, if after deciding to train for a tri her workouts have suddenly become more intense and frequent, she may have to ramp-up her training more slowly. Or, if she has irregular, but intense workouts (nothing for a couple of weeks, then a hard spin class), she may need more structure. Hope this helps.
Yes, everyone is different in these kinds of situations. Personally, I am like Flora and cannot run well unless my stomach is completely empty. I don't know why but even a glass of water or Gu gels sets me off for guaranteed side stitching. I thought a banana would do the trick and it did not for me.
On the other hand, pretty much anything goes when it comes to riding my bike, so I am equally confused. I am placing blame on the amount of up and down movement made when running.
I would take Ty's advice above and just keep trying out different things until something clicks. Hope this helps - let her know she is not alone in this and don't give up!!
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Just to clarify, she isn't having side cramps, but full on abdominal cramping/stomach aches. She also clarified that the oatmeal and banana were roughly an hour before the workout. Sounds a little too close for me, but it sounds like she has the cramping even when the meals and workouts are further apart.
Yes oatmeal and bananas are deadly for me. Just an hour before a workout is not long enough to clear all that fiber out of the system. Eat the banana afterwards. I cannot eat oatmeal for b-fast even if I run at lunch time. Peanut butter on a piece of toast is the best energy food that has worked for me and never closer than an hour before the run.