Bloating After Running – 4 Causes & Simple Remedies

Written By: Jeremy N

Bloating after running is an uncomfortable feeling, but it is a common occurrence among distance runners. Bloating can happen to someone who is new to running, returning from a hiatus, or increasing training intensity

Exercise is a stressful activity for the body, and here is the process of how the body reacts to exercise-related stress:

  • Stress from exercise prompts adrenal gland to release cortisol, a stress hormone
  • The stress hormone disturbs fluids, propelling it to retain water, which leads to making you feel bloated

 The good news is the bloating disappears up to two weeks from starting a training routine.

-You might be interested in: How to Manage Pre-Race Anxiety

Recommended Ways to Eliminate Bloating after Running:

  1. Drink Tea (my favorite for a bloated stomach)
  2. Stay Hydrated (here are some tips to stay hydrated on a run)
  3. Watch What you Eat - Food Intolerances and High Sodium can cause bloating
  4. Reduce Intensity - Take an extra rest day

If it continues after the two week period, there is likely another cause of the bloating. Those other causes include (but not limited to) water retention issues, medications, and dietary factors.

Bloating after running is an uncomfortable feeling, but it is a common occurrence among distance runners. Bloating can happen to someone who is new to running, returning from a hiatus, or increasing training intensity. Here are 3 causes of bloating after running and ways to prevent & treat It

Is It Normal to Feel Bloated After A Run?

Yes, it is, so don't be concerned! You aren't alone. While exercising, everyone breaths in more air than usual. And if you don't properly exhale, it can build up inside you. Bloating, bloated stomach, or runner's stomach are all terms for this condition.

Do you feel bloated just after an intensive run or exercise. Have you recently started running again, or are you eating the wrong foods or drinking insufficient water? This can make it worse.

What is runner's stomach?

Runner's stomach is when our digestive tract is subjected to a lot of activity from running or high-endurance exercise, it can cause a stomach upset.

There are some diet recommendations you may use to avoid having an accident while out running

Bloating After Running - 3 Causes & Simple Remedies

Problem #1:  Water Retention After Running

Feel bloated by water. There are certain medications that would make a person sweat or urinate more.

Some examples of medications with these side effects are antidepressants and birth control pills. Just like a lack of sodium, some medicines, such as birth control, trigger the body to retain water. 

Another common side effect of medicines that would cause bloating is an increase in appetite. Make sure you eat! 

Dietary factors can contribute to bloating after a run. One of those dietary factors is an intolerance to certain food items, such as dairy creating some rather uncomfortable gi symptoms. Intolerance to food and exercise can aggravate the stomach and digestive issues.

Eating before running is another factor of bloating because the food is not properly digested this can cause some gi distress making your stomach feel rather uncomfortable. 

Undigested food and the jostling from running interrupts the course the food wants to take in the digestive tract. Another factor includes increased appetite due to increased intensity or training.

These are some common causes of bloating after running. The first step to relieving and prevention is finding out what is causing the bloating.

Once the culprit is noted, here are some tips to help make you feel better and prevent bloating after running from happening again. 

Here are a few ways to help with the bloated symptom:

Solutions: Drink Tea

Drinking the appropriate teas helps alleviate feeling bloating naturally. Debloating teas have relaxant and antispasmodic properties. Here are some teas that help rid of the belly bloat feeling:

  • Peppermint is part of the mint family and admired for both medicinal and fragrance properties. The leaves and stems of the peppermint plant contain menthol. Menthol has healing properties that help with digestive discomforts, such as gas and bloating.
  • Lemon balm is another plant in the mint family. It is a common natural remedy for multiple ailments, which includes digestion issues. It has volatile oils called terpenes and eugenol, and these compounds are responsible for easing spasms in the digestion tract, bloating, and gas.
  • Fennel seeds help promote healthy digestion. It has a long history of clearing flatulence because of a compound called sodium bicarbonate.
  • Dandelion root comes from the common dandelion plant. There are two functions the dandelion root performs in regards to alleviating bloating. The first function is it acts as a diuretic, and it increases urination and rids of water retention. The second function is to address other digestive issues, such as bloating and gas, due to several compounds. Those compound are potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

To prepare any of these teas, scoop a 1-1.5 teaspoon serving of leaves or seeds.

Add it to one cup of boiling water, and let it steep for 10min. Then, strain the leaves, and enjoy the tea. The other option is picking up this highly recommended tea for bloating. 

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  • IMMEDIATE BLOATING SUPPORT: Our large size tea bags have 2 to 3 times the amount of tea per bag compared to other brands, for a medicinal-strength brew. Our tea is CRC Kosher & has no gluten or FODMAPS.

Problem #2: Sodium Levels

As stated in this article, low sodium levels are the common cause of bloating after running.

Sodium counts from food can be calculated in many fitness/nutrition apps, such as MyFitnessPal. The amount of sodium a person needs per day is 1500-2300 mg.
When it comes to adding the appropriate amounts of salt in food, there is one thing to keep in mind.

Salt contains 40% sodium and 60% chlorine. Three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt contains 1500mg of sodium, and 1 teaspoon equals 2300 mg of sodium.

By maintaining a proper sodium level you can reduce the chance of abdominal pain that is related to a bloated stomach. 

Solutions: Stay Properly Hydrated

Proper hydration is the key to a successful workout. The amount of water to drink per day is two liters. For long distance runners, training while dehydrated and consuming sports gels and bars aggravates intestinal distress.

The distress comes from the lack of blood flow to the digestion tract because of dehydration. The blood flow helps the stomach absorb what is put in it.

For proper absorption of sports gels, drink 6-8 ounces of water within 20-30 min of consumption.

Drink sports drinks with caution because it puts the digestive environment in danger of over-concentration.

Problem #3: Eliminate Food Intolerances

It is best to avoid any food items that cause intolerances before a training session or race. Food intolerances and stress from exercise can flare up digestive issues and create bloating.

Solutions: Reduce Intensity

Bloating from intense workouts leads to water retention due to elevated levels of cortisol.

Reducing intensity does not necessarily mean turn down the intensity of the physical activity. It includes incorporating another rest day.

This technique is a way to allow the body to adjust to a new routine. Other ways to reduce intensity are meditation and journaling.

Bloating After Running Wrap-Up

These are some common tips to remedy and prevent bloating after running.

These tips are more on the natural side of rectifying bloating. There are over the counter drugs, such as lactase supplements and simethicone, that help with bloating and gas.

Knowing the basics of what causes stomach pain and bloating after running is the best form of prevention.

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What To Do During Your Run?

When running, make sure you don't intake any more air by breathing correctly and taking breaks to drink and eat. Eating on the run or too rapidly might cause bloating. Even during a race, take the time to stop and drink for 10 seconds.

-Here are Tips Proper Breathing for Running

Excessively pushing yourself can also cause bloating. If you're feeling excessively full, take a break and slow down to avoid overworking yourself. If you're new to running or have been away from it for a long time, your body may need a few weeks to adjust.

If your body is stressed, you won't be able to get the most out of your runs, and cortisol levels will rise, causing more water retention than usual. If it happens again, consider taking an additional rest day or doing something else to relax.

How do I stop bloating after running?

I covered the big tips above but here are few quick ones that can also positively impact your runs. 

Reduce the amount of fiber you consume. Fruits and vegetables are excellent for your health and can help you feel full and content.

  • Practice better breathing during runs
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep cool, this is especially important during summer running
  • Train your gut by creating a routine
  • Reduce high-FODMAP food intake


Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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