I think most runners can relate to some tummy troubles here and there during and after runs, and I am no exception. On my past couple of long runs, my stomach has been all out of sorts, which made me wonder if I need to tweak my food consumption the day before the run. To avoid, ehm, the runs?
Yeah, I’m going there.
Meals for Miles does not sugar coat, friends.
Having digestive issues while working it on the roads and trails for 2-plus hours is the absolute pits, and can definitely turn a great run into somewhat of a nightmare.
- Avoid high fiber foods 24 hours before running
- Avoid caffeine before running
- Make sure you’re hydrated – dehydration can make stomach issues worse
- Don’t eat or drink anything different or new the day before a long run – you never know how your stomach will react
- Make sure you use the ladies’ or men’s room before heading out
The thing is, even if you do all of this stuff, issues can still occur – especially on longer runs. This is because the gut (we nutrition folk like the word gut!) receives less blood when you’re running – the body sends more blood to the legs, and they need it!
However, less blood to the gut causes poor GI function (i.e., the ability to hold things in place, ahem). The longer you run, the more likely you are to experience issues.
For me, it’s kind of random when I experience issues and when I don’t, so I just try to keep my pre-run diet consistent and go with what seems to work best. Since I’ve got 18 miles on tap for tomorrow morning (ooomph), here’s what I’ve fueled up with today.
Breakfast – the usual TJ’s Twigs, Flakes and Clusters/Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes with blueberries and organic raspberries. Two unpictured ginormous mugs of coffee were also present 🙂
Lunch – also the usual AB & J sandwich on sprouted whole grain bread, fruit, a Greek yog and a Dove dark chocolate
Snackage – organic gala apple, trail mix
Oh hay, this looks similar to what I had on Wednesday. Creature of habit, what can I say…
Dinner – two TJ’s whole wheat pitas with hummus, greens, grape tomatoes and cucumbers with chopped bell peppers, carrots and radish with more hummus on the side
Snackage – Greek yog with PB & Co. dark chocolate dreams and some Peanut Butter Pows
Hydration! So, so important. I probably drink about 3-4 of these bottles during the day, and another 16 – 24 ounces when I get home from work.
I’ve had both good and bad results with meals like this, so we’ll have to see how it goes tomorrow (bright and early!). I’ll be starting my run first thing in the a.m., so I’ll probably just have a banana and some Gatorade before heading out (and bringing along more Gatorade and a Gu).
Since it takes the body at least 1-2 days to digest, it probably wasn’t the best idea in the world to eat copious amounts of black beans all week. Oh well 🙂
Like a lot of things in the nutrition/dietetics world, a good plan to help runners avoid GI issues is probably at least a little different for everyone.
That said, I’d love to hear some things that work (and don’t work!) from you guys! Let’s have it!