Hi CNC readers! I’m Theodora, and I blog over at Losing Weight in the City about maintaining my 50-pound weight loss through running and healthy eating without sacrificing my fun NYC lifestyle.
When Tina started having her digestive issues recently, my heart really went out to her. I wanted to go up to Boston and just give her a huge hug. Not only could I tell how upset she was, but I knew exactly how she felt.
Since I graduated college six years ago, I’ve been dealing with digestive issues of my own. While at least I mostly know what I’m dealing with now, it’s still not fun and I remember being as scared as Tina was when they first came on–just as suddenly as hers did.
But like Tina, I haven’t let my digestive issues get in the way of running. I’ve run a marathon, six half-marathons and countless shorter races and only had to stop to use the bathroom during a race once.
I am not a doctor or a medical expert, just an expert in having to plan running routes around bathrooms, so if you are having your own stomach issues, please have them checked out by a doctor.
Here are my tips on how to avoid the runs while running (or if you can’t avoid them, how to deal with them):
Immodium: Honestly, before a long race or run, Immodium is my BFF. (I even took it before my marathon.) If my stomach feels upset at all, I take it. While it makes you a bit more dehydrated, to me, that’s worth not potentially having to stop five times to use the bathroom. I always make sure to drink extra water if I do. As with anything running-related, do not try this for the first time on race day.
Drink plenty of water: Even if you’re not taking Immodium, running is dehydrating and can lead to an upset stomach because of dehydration, so make sure you’re drinking tons of water. (Which you should be doing anyway, obviously.) I also like to use this as a good excuse to drink coconut water. I mean, I’m doing it for the good of my stomach.
Find what works for you: I know a popular pre-run breakfast for many is toast or an English muffin with a nut butter and a banana, but this would be way too heavy for me. In fact, before my marathon, all I had to eat was a Luna bar and a banana, because I knew it worked for me and I didn’t want to deal with 26.2 miles of an upset stomach. Sometimes my stomach can’t even handle that, and I have to eat even less before I run. During my 16-miler at the Healthy Living Summit last summer, my stomach was really bothering me, and I couldn’t stomach anything to eat before my long run. I brought extra Gus with me, and sucked back on them while running.
(This is not how you breathe through it, though.)