I have a finicky stomach, which means I’m often stopping to use the “bathroom” on the trail.
Do you have any suggestions of what I can do to help calm my stomach or can recommend any foods that might neutralize the battle in my tummy?
Lisa: I’ve fought stress stomach since high school. If you’re not opposed to western medicine, I’ve found 1 pepcid + 2 immodium to be the miracle for me. Your GI tract is a funny thing; once it is angry, it will stay angry until given a complete break. If you find yourself stuck in a poo-cycle, give your system a break for a day. That means minimal in – think broth, rice, unflavored oatmeal. Bland is best for tummy issues. Low fat, low sugar. It takes 4 days for your stomach lining to completely replace itself, so go easy to reset!
Des: I have a fairly finicky stomach that I’ve learned to manage fairly well. There was a time in nny running life when I literally couldn’t eat for 2 hours before a race. I know that everyone’s stomach is different, however I thought I’d share some things I found that work for me.
Find your things to avoid. For me this happens to be dairy, wheat and sweeteners. With sweeteners I’ve found I can tolerate things like maple syrup and honey better than processed sugars, but agave wreaks havoc on my stomach. There are actually apps that you can download where you track your food and bowel habits and it helps identify possible triggers. It seems a little weird, but as long as you don’t post to social media along with your Strava who’s gonna know?
Probiotics. These have worked great for me. My go tos are Farm Culture’s Gut Shots and kombucha. I’ve also used a Supreme Dophilis capsule that my local health food store sells. Any of these option, and realy any fermented food, can help keep a good balance of gut bacteria.
Hydration. I’ve noticed that not staying properly hydrated can really mess with my stomach.
Coffee. Be careful of when you drink this as it is a diuretic. However, if you time it right it can help clean you out before the run.
Also, remember, we’re trail runners and if the above suggestions don’t really help there’s not shame in making a pitstop (or 3) in the woods. Perhaps TrailSisters can write another post about proper trail etiquette for pooping, as well as the pros and cons of various natural materials if you don’t have any TP.
Tara W: After living in the DR in my early 20’s, I brought home some lovely intestinal souvenirs. A have figured out a few things that work for me, but I think each situation is a little different. 1. Routine. Run during the same time of day most days. That’ll teach your body when to use, store and “get rid” of your fuel. 2. Easy on the dairy. Take some dairy away and see how it goes. Ease back in and test to see how that effects you. For me, that was an easy fix. 3. Stay hydrated. My crazy stomach will do angry flips and do horrible things to let me know that I didn’t hydrate well. But, keeping yourself well watered will hopefully neutralize those tummy troubles.
Katie: Pay attention to caffeine. If you don’t consume a lot of it in your daily life, but tend to choose performance foods and drinks with caffeine, that could be exacerbating your problem.
Clare: Run in the morning when you have less in your stomach. By consequence of my inability to wake up on time, I often run on an empty stomach and honestly, it is way more reliable than running in the afternoon (bathroom break-wise). Don’t eat fiber before your run if you have to eat.
Katelynn: I find that mixing a bit of ginger into my snack bag really helps settle my stomach. I particularly like making and taking a few of these energy balls. Not only do they have ginger to help the tummy, but they also have turmeric to help keep inflammation down. Ginger ale is my favorite thing to have after a run, at a midway point (if you are able to plan a drop bag) and in a race they usually have ginger ale available at aid stations. Everyone’s stomach is different, trial and error is inevitably a part of the game. Good luck!