Running is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy. It helps you lose weight, increases your endurance, enhances your immunity, stabilizes your blood pressure, and improves your lung capacity. If you are a runner, you may be familiar with the happiness you feel after you have successfully completed a run. This happiness is not only attributed to a sense of achievement but also to the mood-enhancing endorphins released into your system. Though running is so beneficial and fun, you can encounter an embarrassing problem with it from time to time, especially if you are not in extremely good shape. When you are on the verge of winning a marathon or when you are about to break your all-time run record, your gastrointestinal tract may let you down, making you run toward the nearest toilet instead of the finish line. If you have felt that you are the only person experiencing poop problems while running, you will be glad to know that you are not. Gastrointestinal trouble affects a lot of runners, even world-class competitors.
Runner’s diarrhea is not only inconvenient but also emotionally and physically disturbing. It attacks you when you are running long distances, commonly during the middle of the run when you have no place to go. If you have not experienced it yet, chances are you haven’t been running that long. Fortunately, avoiding certain foods that trigger such diarrhea can reduce the probability of a gastrointestinal attack to a great extent.
1. Spicy Foods
You may love spicy foods, but they are not so great on your stomach as they are on your tongue. A major component of peppers is Capsaicin, which irritates the small intestine and the lining of the large intestine. Since exercise triggers digestion, having s spicy meal before a run can have an explosive result. Try sticking to complex carbs like brown rice and vegetables before your runs.
If you run, you must obviously be avoiding foods that contain sugar. But replacing sugary foods with ones that contain artificial sweeteners, especially sorbitol, is not advisable for runners. Sorbitol is a sweet-tasting alcohol, which is generally used in gums and drinks in place of genuine sugar. It is also used as a laxative to help those with constipation. Since it is not utilized for energy like genuine sugar is, it can stay in your gastrointestinal tract for a period of time. Always check the ingredient label before consuming chocolates or chewing gum before a run.
3. Dairy Products
Though milk is very good for your health and bones and can provide you with energy, it is better if you stay away from it before a run. The fat and lactose content of milk and milk products can mess with your digestive system, especially if you are lactose intolerant. You can have almond milk or coconut milk instead.
4. High-Fiber Foods
Having high-fiber cereal may be a great way to kick-start your day with, but you need to avoid them before a run. That also includes other high fiber foods like lentils, legumes, beans, and whole grains. Since fiber helps improve your bowel movements, it can lead to an unbearable urge to poop during the middle of a run. Have a banana, toast, or peanut butter for pre-workout energy.
Caffeine can give you a much-needed boost of energy before a run, but it can also speed up the movement of food through your gastrointestinal tract. If you are dependent on caffeine for energy, you may find it difficult to skip it, but you will be saving yourself from something far worse than less energy.