|Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND
Culinary Sports & Performance Nutritionist
It’s all in your gut? Not so, as gut issues related to running and sports may be related to diet, stress & the motion of training. You’re not alone as gut distress effects 45-85% of athletes whether it’s the upper GI – heart burn, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, gastritis, peptic ulcers, bleeding or stitches or lower GI, gas bloating, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, & colitis (inflamed colon) that’s effected. In addition to diet, stress, the heat, dehydration, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the mechanical force of running or daily stress can cause a gut reaction.
No worries, once the cause is determined the solution is fairly simple—avoid it! Ask yourself first if diet, stress, previous or current health issues could be the cause. If you suspect something more serious than too much fiber in your diet then see a medical doctor who specializes in gut distress called a gastroenterologist (GI doc.)
If you think it’s something you ate, try these simple strategies before your next run:
- Follow a low fiber/residue diet for 3 days before important long runs or competitions—that means skipping all the Grande nutritious salads, fresh fruit bowls & high fiber cereal breakfasts!
- Eat small meals throughout the day rather than 3 big squared + a huge dinner evening before your big workout or race.
- Go lactose free 48 hours out, skip your café con leche! Try almond, rice or flax milk in your coffee instead.
- Stick with a pre run/race meal/snack/fluid regimen that you have tested in training. Start with about ½ to ¾ your body weight in carbohydrate grams, 2 -3 hours before you start running, keep it simple with a dry low fiber cereal & a lactose free milk like almond or soy; ½ bar w/ 2 cups of water 2 hours before; maybe some bar bites or gummy, snip of gel if you need an extra kick 1 hour to 45 before you get started.
- Consume no more than 60 grams of carbs for each hour of running. Be sure to mentally track the sugars you consume from ALL sources-sport drinks, gels, GU’s bars, sports drinks to avoid too much sugar regardless of the source-agave or fructose.
- Rehearse your bathroom strategy which for many include a brewed cup of hot java, tea or water w/lemon to “jump start” the gut and stimulate a bathroom visit before the run gets started.
If you can’t narrow down the cause, and remain gut challenged despite your best efforts, then ask for help from a sports dietitian. Ruling out running induced, food-related gut issues may require an expert to assess your diet, blood, or stool to assess for food
intolerances, bacterial infections, Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even something more serious like Crohn’s disease.
Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND “The Running Nutritionist®” is a Miami-based, culinary sports & performance nutritionist for Olympian, Professional, Collegiate & Junior athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA, USTA, UST&F & US Boxing & celebrity actors appearing in movies/TV & on stage-Avengers, Gone Girl, Iron Man 3, Book Thief, The Glades & Miami City Ballet. Lisa served as Sports Nutritionist for the University of Miami athletic teams & Olympic Sailing Team Nutritionist for Beijing ’08. In 2014 she launched the 1st Farm to Table Performance Meal Delivery Service www.LegallyLeanToGo.com. Lisa has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN & featured in USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside & Runners World magazines. She is a competitive runner and triathlete who has competed in more than 34 marathons (PR 2:52:32), Ironman USA Lake Placid, and hundreds of running and multisport races. In 2004, she competed for the United States on Team USA at the World Long Distance Duathlon Championships. The author of 8 books, her latest Legally Lean: Sports Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Health & Performance (2015) is available at her website www.LegallyLean.com. Follow Lisa at Twitter@FoodFitness or Instagram@LegallyLean. For contact information & appointments: www.RunningNutritionist.com
The food, fitness and wellness nutrition information you receive at this website including blog, recipes, food programs, meals, snacks, exercise regimens etc., is not intended to replace medical advice or be a substitute for medical or other professional medical advice for you or your loved ones. Before starting any lifestyle change program, it is your responsibility to consult your personal physician. Do not change your normal diet or exercise patterns without permission from your doctor and/or personal medical team.
Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND-The Running Nutritionist®
Author: Legally Lean (Momentum Media, 2015)
Chair-Miami Culinary Institute Advisory Board ’15-16
Media Rep-American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA)