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Runner's Diarrhea- Help!

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  • Runner's Diarrhea- Help!

    I was hoping to get some insights from all of you. I'm training for my second full marathon and have done three 1/2 marathons. During my 18 mile training run this past weekend, I had major stomach trouble. Our run included a 1/2 marathon out in the middle of rural Virginia without any porti-pottis and I had to use some stranger's bathroom...it got that bad.

    I had the same troubles training last time and also had major problems during the full marathon. I'm not fast (finished in 5:19), but could have shaved off a 1/2 hour if you subtracted time in the porti-potti. This was before going primal.

    I've been feeling better running since I changed to a PB lifestyle about 2 months ago. This is the first time I've had stomach trouble all season. I typically have a good dinner the night before (may include a 1/2 sweet potato) and have strawberries and full-fat Fage in the morning, plus a Larabar about an hour before running. During the run, I've been using Clif Shot Bloks or Luna Moons.

    Here's what I'd thought I'd try the next couple of weeks-
    -Not eating the Fage in the morning. Maybe a few strawberries plus the Larabar (Is that enough?)
    -Trying to eat dried fruit while running, instead of the "Frankenfood"

    Does anyone else have any other suggestions? I don't want to change too much so close to the marathon, which is June 6th. I've been feeling so much better eating primally. I've also noticed that I feel stronger and haven't gotten sore, like I used to. Thanks for the help!

  • #2
    I am curious about the replies you get on this one. I ran an all-time worst marathon yesterday due to this issue, along with pollen induced asthma. I don't even remember how my "stops" I had to take. I've been adapting to primal eating for over two weeks now. I got nervous the last two days before the marathon because I wasn't sure if I could (or should) carb load like I used to. I did have some yams and caved for a little pasta the night before. The morning of the run, I had greek yogurt, homemade chocolate hazelnut butter and half a sliced banana. I've never done the yogurt thing before..... That might be the culprit for the both of us?

    During the marathon, I used 3 Honey stingers gels (pure honey), one date, and two pb filled pretzel nuggets. I know it wasn't enough to eat. My GI issues were making me nauseous and I didn't feel comfortable eating. I did bring a baggie of raw nuts and mixed dried fruits, but didn't touch it..except for the one date.

    Two weeks ago, I ran 17 miles with only dried fruit and nuts as my fuel and did fine. Prior to the run, I had a shakeology shake blended with banana and unsweetened almond milk. I should have stuck with that yesterday. Live and learn.

    I felt horrible during the marathon, and had never felt that bad before. My breathing was shallow and my legs were burning. Unfortunately, I took many walk breaks because I couldn't handle any inclines and my pace was embarrassingly slow. I don't really know for certain what went wrong. I hope it's not due to my switch over to primal eating. I run multiple marathons/ultras every year. I want to continue to eat primal, but not sacrifice the joy I get from participating in my favorite hobby. Has anyone felt terrible in the early stages of switching to primal? Does it get better?

    Sorry I can't offer much help for your troubles. I am glad you posted this, however.

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    • #3
      Oh man, JessicaRunner, sorry you had such a terrible race.

      I'm definitely going to cut out the yogurt this week. Dinner the night before will be something basic- steak or chicken, some veggies and a 1/2 sweet potato. I might start a food journal just so I can keep track and get a better feel for what's going on.

      Fingers crossed that the 20 miler will go smoothly next weekend.

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      • #4
        When I ran cross-country, I would never eat before the training runs which went up to 10-13 miles, or for the races which were roughly 3 miles in length, and despite my lackadaisical times (22 minutes on average for a race, ugh!) I never felt sick or bloated. Now that I run middle-distance on track, the only time I feel bad is if I had eaten that day, even if it was 4-6 hours beforehand.

        Try just not eating the day of your run, and eat a lot the night before. Or, just drastically cut down what you eat and only consume "light" foods, like bananas or something similar. FAGE is definitely too heavy to eat right before a run.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestions, mstrudle. We'll see how it goes this week and next week (the 20 miler!).

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          • #6
            I foind fruit, dairy and caffeine are pretty bad to have right before, and anything too fibrous (You've got a bit of all of those!)
            The fruit thing, as far as I know, is because fructose is absorbed late in the digestion process so it can cause troubles when blood flow is restricted to the intestines during exercise to be diverted to the working muscles.
            If you use artificial sweeteners they do the same and it's why some people get lower abdominal bloating with high amounts of fruits and/or sweeteners.
            Hope that helps.

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            • #7
              What would you guys recommend eating before the run? Shouldn't I eat something before the 20 miler and the marathon? I'm not too worried about this week's 10 miler, but I thought if I'd try something new and it goes terribly wrong, I'd know before the 20.

              A tri-athlete yesterday recommended a bagel with a little cream cheese, but I don't really want to do the bread.

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              • #8
                From my experience, it is the gels/shot bloks/bars/etc that get you on the run. I have found the Honey Stingers are the only thing that don't get my stomach. I also stay away from "sports drinks". I stick with water. For electrolytes, I'll have a few Hammer Endurolytes (veggie based electrolyte capsules) the night before a long run. We're in Texas so depending on the heat, I might take one or two during the run.

                Depending on my distance on the given day, I'll drink a few raw eggs about 1 hour before my run. 9-18 miles I'll have 2 eggs. More than 18, I'll have 3.

                I put them in a glass jar, with a little vanilla. Put the top on a shake. This will mix them up pretty well. Open and swallow. It takes a few times to get used to it, but now it doesn't phase me at all.

                I've tried a couple of ways to drink them. Just putting them in a cup and drinking is gross. You have to slurp down the yolk. Breaking the yolk with a fork is somewhat better. From what I have read, you don't want to blend them. That will break down the proteins.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by citric View Post
                  Depending on my distance on the given day, I'll drink a few raw eggs about 1 hour before my run. 9-18 miles I'll have 2 eggs. More than 18, I'll have 3.

                  I put them in a glass jar, with a little vanilla. Put the top on a shake. This will mix them up pretty well. Open and swallow. It takes a few times to get used to it, but now it doesn't phase me at all.

                  I've tried a couple of ways to drink them. Just putting them in a cup and drinking is gross. You have to slurp down the yolk. Breaking the yolk with a fork is somewhat better. From what I have read, you don't want to blend them. That will break down the proteins.
                  Throw a banana in the mix to make a really tasty smoothie they go down a treat then! (although that means eating fruit, personally ive fonud bananas digest easily and are great for energy)
                  www.beatingorthorexia.co.uk

                  No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.

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                  • #10
                    Yikes! You guys are too hardcore for me! I don't think I could ever swallow a raw egg. Definitely a mental block, I'm sure. I'm going to try some dried fruit and nuts this week and see how it goes. After a while, those Shot bloks that I eat make me nauseous and I get to the point where I really don't want to eat another one. Maybe the fruit will be better. I'll let you know.

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                    • #11
                      I've never had Diarrhea but occasionally experienced minor leakage when excersise get more intense?! which can be discomfortable, its like there excess fluid there but the stools themselves are fine, sorry to be a bit graphic, and only part related. Any suggestions?
                      www.beatingorthorexia.co.uk

                      No more diets. No more stress. Health made easy. Living made incredible.

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                      • #12
                        Um, I'm not a runner, so I don't know anything about the carb needs and such. But it seems to me that you guys have a low-carb primal lifestyle then the day of a race dump a whole heap of carbs on your system, and wonder why you get an upset tummy.

                        Could you consider a gradual ramp-up of carb intake before race day to let your body adjust, so that you don't get such a shock from it. Also looking at some moderate GI foods the night and morning before so you've got a more gradual release. I'd be avoiding dairy due to the lactose content.

                        Need to find an expert on exercise physiology who is into low-carb. This would be a good an article topic for Mark!
                        Last edited by Helen in Oz; 05-05-2010, 09:09 PM.

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                        • #13
                          PrimalHound - You can also try the eggs hard boiled. That is how I originally ate them. One morning we didn't have any hard boiled, so I downed a few raw. Now I just do it because it's quick!

                          My goal is easily digestible protein for sustaining energy. Eggs are a great source!

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                          • #14
                            I'm going to order those Honey Stingers and see how my system does with those. Didn't think about hard-boiled eggs. That's certainly an easier option for me.

                            Helen in Oz- I agree with you. My belly doesn't seem to be able to handle the high-carb chews that I ingest during the race. The diarrhea seems to come when I reach a certain mileage (usually 18 and over) and nerves come into play too, I think. I'm going to incorporate more sweet potatoes and more carbs a few days before the 20 miler and the marathon to help my body adjust.

                            Thanks everyone!

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                            • #15
                              marathon habits

                              the advice I have been given which I found helpful is to make sure you are up at least 2 hours (minimum!) before the race and eat then. I would have a banana and maybe a couple of scrambled eggs. Usually just a coffee and a banana.
                              Go for a one to two km jog around the block (this is a good hour before you even leave for the start line). It gets your system moving and warms you up with plenty of time for your body to then do its thing. Sit on the loo and be patient. A warm shower first helps.
                              Watch your sugar intake. I can't do a maranthon without gels but I have found the Clif Bar gels the best (and I have no affiliation with the company). I get them sent here from the US (I am in oz). I try and put off the sports drinks till the last few miles.
                              Having said that, since doing the primal thing I am no longer interested in full marathons - just the odd half and loads more sprints and 10kms.
                              Still if you have the 42.2 bug, you have it

                              oh and one thing more: don't do anything in the marathon that you haven't practised many times in your long runs!
                              Last edited by cottchick; 05-06-2010, 06:40 PM. Reason: another thought

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