Saturday, April 28, 2007

Runner's tummy

OK, so I don't know if that's the technical term for it or not, but it's when almost everything upsets your tummy on a long run. I used to have a gut of iron, but these long training runs are killing me! If I don't eat fairly soon before running, I feel faint.

But I've figured out over these past few months that my system simply will not tolerate most things within about 3 hours of running... no meat (and definitely, most definitely) not fish; nothing fatty or with any kind of sauce or dressing; no onions or garlic; no bread; no juices (and especially not vegetable juice or V8), absolutely-under-no-circumstances can I go near a banana.

Today I had some cooked veggies and table water crackers with some cheese (just becuase if I don't have some kind of protein, I'll just about pass out). Then I waited for over an hour to run.

I try not to drink too much water on the runs and I don't use Gatorade, either. That's OK for shorter runs, but it brings on the gut ache sooner on the long runs.

But still... after about 45 minutes, it came... that slow nausea that just swirls around in your gut. You know you're not going to hurl, but it's just not fun. And it slows the run down!

I am enjoying the long runs (15 km today! First time! For U.S. friends that's 9.3 miles.) But they are, literally, nauseating. I took a gel after about an hour so I wouldn't bonk, and then near the end, it got better.

By the end of the run, of course, I'm ravenous. I feel like screaming at people, "Get the hell out of my way so I can eat, or I'll rip your face off!"

But of course, I don't. I just smile nicely and cooly reach for whatever snack I hope my princess gut will handle.

I figure that I can't be the only person who's ever experienced this. Anyone got any advice?

My running books all say to eat bananas. My tummy would tell their authors they're full of baloney.



Let's not even go there.

Not even on a good day.


Sarah said...

I don't like to run in the evenings because although its been hours since lunch I can still feel it sitting in my tummy. So I run in the mornings on an empty stomach or maybe a pbj sandwich. Sometimes on the weekend I don't run until noon and pancakes seem to sit well.

Turtle Guy said...

It must be an extremely delicate balance - when and what to eat, when not to. You need the energy, but not the "weigh-me-downs", and for me, that means eating light before weights or even a ride. Veggies OK, meat and bread, nada.

Sarah - pancakes would stop me dead in my tracks, as would a pbj sandwich.

I guess everyone's metabolism is different.

Robb said...

"Get the hell out of my way so I can eat, or I'll rip your face off!" Uttered with all the warmth of a gritty maritimer. I love it!

Backofpack said...

I know everyone goes "ewwww" but I'm tellin' ya, chocolate soy milk in the water bottle. I take two or three sips everytime I walk (so once every 10 minutes). It keeps me on an even keel, doesn't bother the tummy. I use the Silk brand. At Eugene I experimented with peanut butter filled pretzels - which were good, but dry and hard to swallow. I'm going to try peanut butter crackers this weekend at Vancouver. I can eat a pb&j while running but find I crave something salty (thus the pretzel/cracker tests). I can also eat Clif Bloks during a run. I usually feel queasy for about 5 minutes right after I eat it, but then it passes.

Before a run I eat about 120 calories of some kind of protien bar - Pria or Luna - something with no corn syrup. I drink half a cup of tea with it. I do that at least a half hour before the run. So far, so good.

And, congrats on the new long distance!

robtherunner said...

First of all, congrats on the 15k. I do not usually have a lot of problems since I eat on the run and have been known to eat chili after a marathon and then go pound out some more miles to finish out a 50k. I am not sure you want advice from me.

maniac hippo said...

Puzzles like what you're working on are part of the fun of running. We get to try out all sorts of things to see what solves each of our unique problems.

Thing's I've tried that might help: Ensure, Perpetuem, Shot blocks, candied ginger, dried papaya, chicken soup, little red potatoes slightly undercooked, chilled red grapes.

I'm also amazed that a lot of time tummy problems can be solved by taking electrolytes either up or down, even when I'm sure that can't be it.

This is probably a different problem but I also find that more than a tiny bit of fructose in my gut will have me scurrying for the bushes. I've heard this is not unusual.

Good luck figuring it out.

Downhillnut said...

This is what training is all about - figuring out how to get your body to go further.

You didn't mention any snacking en route - have you tried some different gels? or Cliff blocks, or sport jelly beans?

Once I'd forgotten to pack a mid-run snack and a friend gave me one Peak Frean orange blossom cookie at 90 minutes on a 120min run - HEAVEN.

Bananas are hard to digest. You might want to look into glucose pills at 40 minutes or something you can swallow quickly, if actual eating doesn't work.

The recent Impact Magazine Runner's edition (Gord's and the NW Tech Shop has it for free) had an article about Runner's Trots. The author recommended less acid in the diet can help prevent problems on hard runs. Let me know if you can't find a copy and you can have mine.

Keep up the great training!