Saturday, September 8, 2012

Runners Gut - 7 Ways to Keep You Out of the Woods

It starts with a rumble.  You ignore it. 

Maybe you discretely (or not so discretely) let off a little of the pressure.  Your eyes scan the sides of the road…yards, woods, buildings. 

Nah.  Not going to do it.  Disgusting.

Rumble, rumble, rumble.  Ouch. 


The eyes begin to dart.  Big patch of trees over there….

Hope I can make it!!!!

Hope no one sees me. 

Could I get arrested for this?


Runners Gut (technical medical term – joggerscra pititus) is not always preventable, but there are ways to reduce the chances that you are going to need to imitate a bear. 

As a guy who runs a lot (pun not intended, but I will take it), I have 7 tried and true methods I have found to help reduce the chances for the need of a pit stop during a race or a run.

1)   Don’t use simple sugar electrolyte drinks during the run.  Gatorade, Powerade and the like use sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The simple fact is most people have a hard time processing simple sugars easily during runs…hence…well…you know…the runs…  (PS Gatorade/Powerade sponsor guys, since you never call me, consider this my absolute rejection of any future sponsorships you may offer for my future Run Across America Attempt 2.) 
2)   Try electrolyte capsules especially ones that have a little sodium bicarb in them.   The bicarb neutralizes acid.  It calms the stomach before the results hit south. 
3)   Ginger chews.  I could write for hours on the power of ginger.  A great article can be found here   
4)   Stay away from dairy before a run.  I know there are people out there that love cold milk before a run.  However, these people have stomachs made of cast iron.  Most people have a real difficulty with dairy right before a run.
5)   An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of…well…. There is no better way to prevent a reading of the Sunday paper in the woods than draining the swamp ahead of time.  Coffee is a great way to start a run…2 hours beforehand.  Just run empty!
6)   Don’t eat anything before a race that you have never eaten before.  You never know what your system may think of that Spicy Tofu Pad Thai the night before a 70.3!  (Hint, this pasta carb loading dish should be served to your closest competitor if you want to win.)
7)   In order to skip the mid race blues, take a dose of Kaopectate or similar medicine a few hours ahead.  I don’t pack my ultra running gear or bike for an Ironman without a little baggie of fun. 

Even if you do all of these things, you may end up reading the New York Times in the woods at mile 24.  Our bodies are fickle things that have minds of their own. 

Final word? 

Race bibs can multi-task….