Runners Trots

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Most of us know the feeling of needing to find the nearest loo on race day, queueing up with thousands of other nervous runners, worrying about missing the start, not having any loo paper, or even worse, having to stop again in the event. No matter whether you are a “weekend warrior” or elite runner, the runner’s trots is a worry, and one that is made worse by worrying! Even those with “iron guts” at normal times can succumb to tummy upsets come race day, and for those who suffer IBS symptoms all the time, the concern about the “trots” can outweigh concerns about performance.

Modifying your diet to cut down on fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar) and maybe some other high FODMAP foods could help to decrease bloating and wind on the pre-race days and runners trots on race day. Here are my tips for minimising risk of the dreaded RTs, and maximising opportunity for a PB!

Three day countdown

  • Adequate hydration using low FODMAP fluids – at least two litres of water, weak tea, peppermint tea, cranberry juice, maybe sports drink (but not if it contains fructose).
  • AVOID all other fruit juice, some herbal teas (high FODMAP) and coffee (if it stimulates your bowel – you will know if it does).
  • Increase intake of low FODMAP, low fibre, high carb foods (to fuel up). Suggestions include gluten free/low FODMAP breads, baked potatoes, rice, bananas, lactose free milk, lactose free yoghurt and two serves of low FODMAP fruits (banana, grapes, orange).
  • If you get too full, add carbs by adding maple syrup or golden syrup to toast or rolled oats.
  • You can halve portions of protein foods pre-race to make space for the extra carbs, as protein is not as necessary pre-race as carbs.
  • Check sports gel ingredients – AVOID those that contain fructose (glucose and dextrose are fine).
  • Test out gels and sports drinks in training, but also be mindful that your tummy will be more sensitive on race day.

Race day nutrition

  • Have a light low FODMAP snack at least two hours before the event (or as a late supper if the race is really early).
  • Aim for 200 to 300 calories per hour of the race to fuel your muscles and brain.
  • Use glucose lollies, bananas, fructose free sports drinks or gels and AVOID snacks or drinks that contain fructose or fruit juice.
  • Aim for at least 500ml of fluids each hour for events longer than one hour.

After party

  • Re-fuel within the 30 minute “glycogen window” to minimise risk of infection or injury.
  • Have a snack that contains a mix of carb and protein – fruit & nut bar, yoghurt, smoothie.
  • Celebrate your PB without the RTs!!!!!! Note: Alcohol slows recovery but most are low in FODMAPs!

If reading this blog makes you think you might have more than just the runner’s trots, take a look at the Gut Feelings website for much, much more information.

Blogged by Kerith Duncanson – May 2015


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