"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~ La Rochefoucauld 

I have a HUGE fear that pertains to running. OK, I have two huge fears. One of them is running into snakes, which I have done on a few occasions. If you were with me during one of those times, you probably laughed, hard. The other fear is, are you ready? Having to go #2 out on a long run. Yes, I am afraid of my bowels. 

I know you've all heard stories about people who just drop their pants on the side of the road, do their business in the middle of a run, and get right back out there. Sorry folks, that just isn't the kind of gal I am. I want my business to be done in a barricade. It doesn't hurt to have a little Charmin either. The problem is, I am blessed with overactive bowels when I run. Listen people, I'm giving it to you straight! Yes, I get the "runner's trots." If you think I'm making this up, Google, it's a real thing, and real people are suffering from it right this very moment. Not me though, ha ha!

Anyway, this problem really stressed me out because almost every single training run I did was sans potty. Can you imagine being 10 miles away from a facility, in the middle of a field and hearing the grumble of your stomach? It's not an enjoyable time, especially when you have cows as an audience! 

My point? Nutrition before a run is VERY important. You have to make sure you're fueling your body properly so that it has enough "gas" (but hopefully not gas, gas) to get you through a long, exhausting run, without upsetting your stomach and giving you bowels of fury.

I obsess about what I eat a few days prior to a long run. No grease, no milkshakes (hello dairy overload), no Fiber One bars (trust me on this one). I try to make sure I'm eating easily digestible foods; salads, whole grains and then of course carbs on Friday evening.

My Saturday morning ritual is most important. I get up an hour and a half prior to having to leave the house. Generally, that puts my run about 2 hours after I eat my breakfast. When I first started training, I would eat a whole grain english muffin with about two tablespoons of peanut butter and a banana. Once we started running over 10 miles, I realized that it just wasn't enough fuel. Even with eating a Gu around mile 6, I was still starving and bonking around mile 8. Not to mention I burped banana the entire time. Not really pleasant for myself or my teammates! 

About half-way through training, I got up enough courage to try a new pre-run meal. I started eating a generous bowl of oatmeal with half of a sliced up banana. I also drink a cup of warm tea with a teaspoon of natural sugar. This combination works perfectly to fill me up and um, get things going prior to leaving the house. While in the car on the way to the course, I sip water and pop an Imodium, it does a bowel good. 

While out on the course, I find that alternating Gatorade and water every 3 miles; making sure the water stop coincides with my Gu, every 6 miles (every hour), kept my nausea at bay and kept me from feeling hungry or bonking. Each week I experimented with different forms of fuel to see which one worked best for me. My coaches really made it a point to tell us to find what worked well and then stick with it. 

Having never tried a Gu, Gel, Block, Bean, etc I was really nervous about them my first time. The first brand I tried was the Gu TriBerry and I wasn't a huge fan. The texture was much like vaseline and I felt like I was choking it down. The flavor was great though so I just stuck with them for a few weeks, instead of experimenting. Remember the 10 miles from "home base," stuck in a field with a bovine audience I was talking about from before? The culprit from that day was a TriBerry Gu. 

The great thing is that I realized what was causing my body to react in different ways, and I adjusted as needed. Right now I think I have a winning combination. I only eat Chocolate Outrage Gu's while out on the course, and I follow my pre-run rituals to a T. If you're just starting to train for an event, NOW is the time to experiment. Go to a running store and ask them for a bunch of different types of fuel and try them! I highly recommend Jelly Belly's Sport Beans with caffeine, as well. I like eating them before an evening run to give me that extra boost of energy that my children have sucked out of me all day. Of course, what works for me isn't necessarily what will work for you or your bowels, you know, if you have that problem!

Run Hard,
Run Strong,
Run For You,
Holly



 
Stephanie
7/20/2011

Thanks for posting this. I have been running for years and still haven't mastered the pre- run meal. I don't necessarily have the same bowel problems you do, but cramp up a lot if I eat too close to my run. I get so anxious, I don't eat anything and I know that affects the distance I can go. I do eat hammer gels every 6 miles/hour or so and that seems to have gotten me where I need to go in the past. I wonder if I try your routine what difference that may make? I'm going to try. THANKS!

Reply
Holly
7/20/2011

Stephanie, You want to try to eat around 300 calories before going out on a run. It's really all in what works for you. Also, I think my biggest thing is spacing it out enough so that I have time to digest the food a bit. The warm tea REALLY helps with that process. Good luck!

Reply
Chrissie
7/20/2011

Yet again you made me chuckle. I don't know if I will ever try any of these things but it is good to know. I would love something that gives me a boost at 6am. My body does not enjoy running right out of bed.

Reply
Stephanie
7/20/2011

Thanks, Holly!

Reply



Leave a Reply.