Limit Food and Drink on Race Day
A typical meal for Nieman when competing is about 500 calories of hot white rice with a sports drink chaser 60 to 90 minutes before the race. Experts recommend 30 to 60 grams of carbs for every hour of exertion. Those carbs can be supplied by taking in half a cup to a cup of sports drink every 15 minutes. "You do not want to eat when you're running," Nieman said. Staying hydrating is also key to preventing GI problems.
Know Your Body
"Everyone is unique and different when it comes to what specific foods/beverages affect their gut," Koszyk said. "I've seen clients who don't tolerate certain sugars, concentrated sugars, garlic, onion, dairy, bread, caffeine, high fiber foods and more." The easiest way to identify potential problem foods is to keep a food and training diary. Keep track of what you eat, what types of GI problems you experience and even bowel movements. If you suspect a food allergy or intolerance, avoid that food or consult with a sports nutritionist.
Tailor a Training and Nutrition Plan That Works for You
"Customization is everything," Koszyk said. "The main goal is to get the appropriate amount of carbohydrates and proteins in before the run. The sources of the carbs and proteins can vary." Keeping a food diary and monitoring how your body reacts, as mentioned previously, is a great way to figure out what works best for you.
Education and proper training can help you minimize gastrointestinal distress, but running is inherently tough on the body. Consider carrying wet wipes and other supplies in case of an emergency. This can provide some peace of mind, so you can concentrate on running.
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