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How to Avoid GI Issues While Running?

Marathon Runner Top Questions

“What’s the best diet so a runner does not get any GI issues while running?” - Annette

Running naturally causes distress to your GI tract, according to our Mary Hartley, RD, because it jostles the intestines and reduces digestion as blood flows to the exercising muscles. She advises, "You can reduce GI stress by staying well hydrated, eating enough fiber to have a BM everyday (but reduce dietary fiber on the day before and of a competition,) avoid coffee, sugar alcohols, and spicy food before a run because they stimulate the intestines, and avoid milk if you have a lactose intolerance.”

Food and energy sources are where Holly Perkins, a renowned running expert at HollyPerkinsFitness.com, focuses her attention, too. "Fueling during your runs is very different from fueling at other times of the day. It's important that you ingest a source that can enter your system quickly with very little work on your digestive system," she says. She recommends almost exclusively using carbohydrate sources for mid-run fueling, citing expert consensus to avoid fat and fiber during runs. Common fueling sources are: GU, Cliff Shot Gel or gummies Shot Bloks, Gatorade, or Accelerade.

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