Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Let's Talk about "It"

It starts as a little tingle. You try to ignore it, convince yourself that it's no big deal. Whether you're two minutes from the starting gun or already on your way and in "the zone", cramps, bloating, potty urges, need I say more?
Yep, I'm giving "It" a voice. Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Lactose Intolerance hits about 50% of runners at the most inopportune times. sheds some light on the issue, cited below:
 "If you have intestinal problems when you run you're not alone; 30- 50% of distance runners experience exercise related intestinal problems..... The vast majority (83%) of 471 marathoners who completed a survey reported they suffered GI problems occasionally or frequently during or after running: 53% experienced the urge to have a bowel movement and 38% reported diarrhea. Women were more likely than men to experience these problems."
Little did I know, the more seasoned runners have a name for it: "Runner's Trots" (Seriously people, I'm totally not joking on this one!)
Causes: I'll keep this short. There is no theory that's completely hands-down on the money. However, the research I reviewed for this article pretty much suggested the same thing. And it even makes sense!
When participating in rigorous, tiresome activity, the body diverts blood flow to your skin (cooling) and muscles involved in running. The reduced blood flow to the intestines can cause dehydration and, thus, and "irritable bowel."
- Warm up with a jog before your next big race. Perhaps this will "move things along" prior to the run.
- In the days leading up to the run, try to limit "sugar free" foods or foods containing aspartame, xylitol, etc. These can irritate the intestine and cause cramping.
- Reduce high fiber foods. This can be counter-inuitive to the carb loading but just think about the fiber content in the carbohydrate dense food choices.
- Consume LOTS of water, specifically 7 days prior to your run. Water works miracles, 'nuff said.
- Other food culprits that have been known to overstimulate your intestine are listed below.
Juice, coffee, fresh fruit, dried fruit, beans, lentils, dairy, high-fiber breads or cereals.
- Consult your doctor if you ever have painful cramps, diarrhea lasting more than 12 hours, or additional concerns outside of those listed above.

The nice thing about "It" is that you're not alone. There's a ton of research available online pertaining to this topic. And you don't have to just live with it, there's even prescriptions approved by the FDA that may help fix this terribly annoying problem.
"Causes and Solutions for Runners' Intestinal Concerns" Nancy Clark, MS, RD
"Runners' Digest" Kristin Bjornsen


1 comment:

  1. Great Blog RUNFIT!! You def have a knack for writing. I like the photos too. oxoxox your #2 momma