by Karen Campbell, specialist in personalised nutrition for endurance runners from beginners to professionals.
Is your running performance blighted by Gastrointestinal (GI) distress? This is a common symptom experienced by athletes at all levels1 but is little talked about. Remember Paula Radcliffe’s marathon experience?
Between 30%-65% of runners will suffer, with cramping, bloating and loose bowel movements being the most frequent symptoms2
The 3 main causes of GI problems are:
- Physiological (caused by reduced blood flow to the gut during exercise)
- Mechanical (bouncing effect of running, for example)
- Nutritional (such as excess ingestion of carbohydrate drinks).
and this leads to discomfort, anxiety and under performance. Other things which may be contributing to your GI distress may include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Emotional stress
- Pathogenic bacteria
- Excess pressure on the abdominal wall3.
“Ultimately, these symptoms can impair performance and possibly prevent athletes from winning or even finishing a race. Most runners simply try to put up with it! YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
TIPS to alleviate Runners Digestive Distress:
- Manipulating the fibre content of the diet during training
- Adding in probiotics (“friendly” bacteria)
- Using multiple transportable carbohydrates as fuel during a race.
If you’d like to learn more to help you improve your running performance with nutrition (including advice and TIPS to alleviate Runners Digestive Distress) book onto our next online course Easy Nutrition for Healthy Runners hosted by Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/easy-nutrition-for-healthy-runners-14-day-online-programme-via-facebook-tickets-63966245763
1de Oliviera E, Burini R (2014), Carbohydrate-Dependent, Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Distress, Nutrients, 6:4191-4199.
2Simons S, Kennedy R (2004), Gastrointestinal Problems in Runners, Current Sports Medicine Reports, DOI: 10.1249/00149619-200404000-00011.
3Casey E, Mistry D, Macknight J (2005), Training Room Management of Medical Conditions: Sports Gastroenterology, Clinics in Sports Medicine, 24:4191-4199.