Quite often, the biggest issue facing a runner or triathlete is an issue with the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
And what’s the main culprit?
Runner’s trots or runner’s diarrhoea – that sudden urgency to go number two in the middle of a run – it’s the first thing we’ll get asked about and it can stem from any of the following:
While running, everything is getting tossed around a lot more than if you were sitting at your desk. This physical jostling can lead to urgency, flatulence and urgency to go.
Nerves about the issue or the stress of race day – will disrupt hormones responsible for keeping the smooth muscle tissue of the gut in a steady rhythm. Instead of a perfectly orchestrated ebb and flow of food down the digestive tract – suddenly everything rushing to the exit.
Blood and nutrients usually allocated to the GI tract are redirected to the working muscle – great for letting you run faster but if left for too long – can cause damage to the gut lining and lead to nausea, cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
What makes it worse?
Dehydration means there’s a lack of water helping to circulate blood and nutrients to the gut. We know it’s already receiving less blood flow that while at rest so if you’re dehydrated you can expect much worse symptoms and potentially irreversible damage to the gut
Some foods such as those high in fiber or fat are slower to digest. So they’ll reside in the GI tract ready to be tossed about and shoved towards the exit when you start running.
Timing is everything for your target events. The days leading up to the event and race day are just as important for during when it comes to optimum nutrient availability
How will your Athlete Nutrition Coach Program make a difference?
Understanding and practicing all the following will drastically reduce your susceptibility to GI issues both during training and on race day
- Knowing the fueling demands of the race
- Knowing your sweat race to ensure you’re hydrated enough.
- Knowing what fuel sources you can tolerate so your GI tract has the least amount of work to do as possible
- Training your gut to tolerate the type and volume of fuel required for your event
- Easier said than done but knowing how to calm down. Simple but REGULAR breathing techniques such as box breathing will stimulate the parasympathetic response and help to smooth out that connection between the brain and gut
However if the issue is ongoing and there are digestion issues which can’t be resolved with the approaches above, then we’ll recommend a GI-Map from our parent company The Nadura Clinic.
This is a gold standard, comprehensive stool analysis which will check for:
- foodborne illnesses
- bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens
- markers for immunity and inflammation
- beneficial bacteria
- along with a host of other digestive health markers.