Indigestion during long run and feeling sick afterwards

Wondering if anyone can help? Been doing a fair few long runs, 19/20 miles plus, no real problems at all with energy, stamina, legs or feet, etc, but towards the end of the run and particularly afterwards I seem to get bad indigestion / heartburn and feel really sick and can barely eat or drink anything for a while, even though at heart I am ravenous! I never ever suffer from indigestion in life generally. Am taking on enough water on the runs, especially as in this weather not that much is needed compared to in warmer conditions. The only thing I can think of that may be causing the indigestion is that I've taken either gels or carbo supplement powdered water (though not much in terms of quantity) along with water. Perhaps my stomach is reacting badly with the (admitedly small volume) of energy gel/liquid and giving me indigestion? Normally I don't eat or drink artificial stuff like this except when running long runs. Any help/advice much appreciated!


  • Could easily be the energy gel/liquid (some of them are really hard work on the stomach). Only way to do it unfortunately is by experimenting each week with different combinations. Don't be scared to start off with a run without energy gels just make sure you have a decent breakfast and meal the night before.

    You'll bonk about 17-18 miles so it'll be a struggle but it'll give you a good idea of whether the problem occurs all the time or just with gels and powdered liquid. Maybe take something for energy with you just in case.
  • Gels make me feel like that. I've been trying different things but so far Mule Bars come out tops and they do some great flavours - the added bonus is I don't feel sick at all.

  • Thanks HH. Had been thinking of trying a 20 miler with only water just to make sure it is the gels etc that's the problem - will give it a go. Have done lots of eg. 15 milers with no supplements and not had the same problem.

    V4D - are the bars ok to digest for you? Do they not take ages to have any effect?
  • I've had no problems with the bars at all. I eat the small ones and just eat slowly over a couple of miles and it seems to work for me. With the gels I start to feel sick within a couple of minutes and it can last for several hours.

  • Try different gels to see which work for you. Friend was off sick a few days when one brand really disagreed with him..

    How many did you have Peter? Any drink too on top of water ?

    During long run training, dubious you need that many. Maybe 2? Expensive too. What gel s or sports drink will you be given in your marathon? Practice with them. VLM you get loads so...

    I don't use gels personally. Found clif blok shots much easier on stomach , less waste since just cubes not goo. 6 cubes in a pack 3 equivalent to a gel, but you can just take 1-2. 2 every 4-5 miles worked great for me last time. Also fine in ultras.

    I don't use them during training though. Water and 2-3 little lunch box packets of dried fruit (69p for 12), the odd zero salt tablet.. A few bloks just in case but rarely used.
  • Have tried various gels, also the Cliff Block shots twice, they do taste great but unfortunately same result.

    Only had one or max two gels each time but just don't seem to handle them. Basically I think my stomach is just incredibly sensitive to stuff taken on during exercise, which is unusual for me compared to eating in normal conditions!

    Hopefully my stomach'll handle taking stuff (eg. bars) it's more used to with sime nutritional value; I think the gels etc have an awful lot of crap in them that it doesn't like.

    Only one way to find out!
  • Highly recommend the Nectar gels Pete. Find they're a great mix between the SIS ones (way too watery) and some of the Shotz ones (basically gum). Gu are quite good as well. Always struggled but really get one with these ones.
  • Peter: this is a huge issue for me as well and making me nervous doing another marathon. I have done various times over 5 marathons but last three have been horrible in last 4 miles and for rest of day. I could hardly get any water down let alone food! I always have bland breakfast if porridge, possibly banana or bagel just before race and then jelly babies and small amount of water every mile. Have you sorted your tum???
  • I got it bad last Spring. Ended up seeing the GP. In hindsight I think I'd taken Ibuprofen or Naproxen a couple of times for aches and pains and that was enough to irritate the stomach. I saw the GP and got Omeprazole for a couple of weeks and that sorted it.

    I think you can get reflux brought about by exercise alone, so don't be too hasty to blame the gels. Might be worth a visit to the Pharmacy or GP to get something to stop it before it happens?

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