Dealing with GI Issues?

I’ve been having GI issues pretty much all day today, and if there’s anything less fun than that, it’s having those issues while you’re out running.  So, looks like my 4k run will happen tomorrow, as I’m assuming my stomach will settle down by then.

I’m sure my GI distress is related to stress, although it could be the large amounts of spinach I consumed yesterday, too.  I sort of think I have IBS but it’s not something I’ve had diagnosed by a medical professional.  I guess I would look into it more if it were a more severe thing, but since I started working out regularly and eating more healthfully, I’ve had few major problems, and things seem to act up only if I am stressed out and/or overtired.  And, of course, when I run.

According to this article from Runner’s World, “Studies suggest that as many as 60 percent of runners experience varying degrees of nausea and unpleasant stomach issues during or following a run…The problems are said to be caused, in part, because blood is diverted from the GI tract to the muscles during exercise.”  It goes on to say that running causes more problems than other forms of exercise because all the bouncing jostles your intestines.

I’ve tried avoiding high-fibre foods (which is hard when you’re also trying to eat healthfully), eating at least 2 hours before a long run, eating just a banana and Gatorade, etc.  Nothing has reliably solved my problem.

Right now I’m not running very long distances so this hasn’t been a major problem.  However, I am signed up to do a half marathon this fall, so I hope to be adding some long runs soon – slowly, though, so as to avoid injuring my IT band.  Maybe this summer I’ll figure out what works to prevent my intestinal woes.

I’m not food journaling today, but I did eat my 4 servings of veggies and 8 c of “water” (including milk and G2).  In total, I food journaled 4 times, met my 8c of water/liquid target 5 times (although one day that included diet pop, based on my logic that recent evidence shows that caffeinated beverages count, too), and ate 4 servings of veggies 4 times.  Yup, met my goals for the week, but sure didn’t exceed them.  Ah well, I think I’ve got enough going on without worrying that I met but didn’t exceed my goals.  After all, aren’t goals supposed to be SMART?

I think I’ll stick with my food journaling, veggie-eating, liquid-drinking goals for the upcoming week.  Even though school is stressing me out, it sort of makes me feel better knowing that I’m taking steps to treat my body kindly and am hopefully counteracting the physical effects of stress to some extent.

Any secrets to share on how to avoid GI woes when running?  How do you manage your stress when you’re short on time and energy?

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4 thoughts on “Dealing with GI Issues?

  1. Kat says:

    When I’m running, I try to run on an empty stomach. Period. The morning of a big race, I can do a coffee/oats thing like three hours beforehand, but otherwise, a LARABAR is basically my choice if I know I have to eat something. If I eat a banana or something, I just end up extremely bloated and it’s miserable.

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  2. Kristinefitness says:

    My GI issues appear when I ate too many fibrous green veggies, or when I am super stressed.
    Managing stress… I try focusing on one thing at a time. Not worrying about the 232943 things I have to do after I finish what I am doing. I used to be so focused on “whats next” I would have terrible anxiety and feel like I couldn’t do ANYTHING. One step at a time.

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  3. Holly says:

    I have stomach issues while running if I have any dairy (a few days beforehand), too many veggies or too much fruit. I’m ok during shorter runs, but for my long runs I have to make sure I eat well beforehand. Oatmeal or a bagel/peanut butter seems to work the best. Also, I have to poop before a long run. If I don’t, I have problems during or right after my run. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is the truth!

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