Bad tummy!

Any advice: My stomach seems to be liking me less & less, whenever I run for more than 40 minutes my food seems to want to evacuate (to put it nicely). I originally thought that it was a problem with corn, but have cut that out, then it was oats. I thought I'd done everything right on Saturday before a half-marathon on Sunday but again had to jump into some bushes after 9 miles & I'd taken some Immodium. I am assuming its foods that are too fibrous, any ideas on how to remedy this? I am running the London Marathon & don't want to be stopping every mile, especially as it often means I have a poorly stomach for a couple of days after.


  • Hi Camilla

    I have a similar problem. Tonight's 7 miler was torture and just made it back in time. I've searched the site for info and the nearest I can get to it is that we are jigging around our innards too much and making them feel unwell. If you search 'diarrhoea' on forum you may find the reply. He suggested running slower. There is some common sense in that; I don't get so many problems when I run at a steady rather than fast pace. I also don't get problems when I run in the morning either.

    Good Luck - I'm running London too. Might see you in the q for the loo's!
  • I also have the same problem - sometimes worse than others - but recently has been a nightmare.

    I think I had a 'tummy bug' anyway, and just as I thought I was getting better I did a 7 mile run. Had to have 2 days off work I felt so bad. A week later and I still have occasional stomach cramps, especially after eating.

    Am going to risk a short run today - first in a week or so.
    Fingers (or legs) crossed!

  • wait longer after eating
    and less fibre in your pre run nutrition.
    and less acidic stuff like spices and fruit juices and that sort of thing
    follow the KISS rule Keep It Simple, Stupid.!!! ;)

    try cereal and toast (like frosties and white toast with jam) before the run, that's nuetral and nutritions.
  • wait about two or three hours after large drink/smack/meal
  • remember, it's not what you eat a couple of hours before the run which makes you need the number two loo, it's the previos nights meal(if the run is next morning) or the mornings meal(if the run in in the evening/late afternoon.

    experiment and you'll find a balance.
  • I've had similar problems. I found my body getting into a routine. Every time I set foot out of the door to go running I needed a humpty. I became stressed about the whole situation which made matters worse.
    I managed to break the routine and fooled my body. Now I will never go running unless I've been to the toilet or unless I'm doing a route with lots of trees/bushes. It's mind over matter as with lots's of elements of running.

    I wouldn't recommend cutting out roughage. It's better to be regular than constipated!
  • I suffer from IBS, and one of my symptoms is that sometimes, the urge to 'go' and actually 'going' have only 5 seconds between them. I'll spare you the details, but there is no arguing with it! When my attacks really threaten to take over, I use aloe juice (any health store). It takes some getting used to, because it tastes foul, and it sometimes makes this worse before they get better, but they DO get better, and it's saved me considerable embarrassment on several occasions! Good luck.
  • After months of playing around with my diet and eating habits to resolve this problem I realised I was never going to without chemical intervention. I now take two Lomotil two hours before each run and am fine. I have been doing it for about 15 years without any noticeable side affects.
  • Thanks for all the advice, I'll give it a go & see what happens. Will be doing some long runs this weekend (the first since Sunday!!) so will keep things very simple. I assume a couple of bevvies the night before may sometimes aggravate things as well, but it is the weekend. Is lomotil like Immodium?
  • Ratcatcher

    What is Lomotil? Like Imodium? as I find that sometimes, mainly in the evening, that Imodium does not work - so I plan routes around pubs and bushes as it were.

    Sorry just realised Camilla has asked the same question!!

    I have had this problem for a few years, started when I started running longer and faster on the treadmill, didn't have a problem on the road until I started to speed up. I try and go for a short run (about a mile) before I go on my main run and this often helps as it were, but I still take Imodium.

    I think it is something you just have to live with.

  • A lot of people are lactose intolerant, i read somewhere that it is quite a common problem. Its possibly worth cutting out any dairy products such as milk (with cereal) before a race. I will try and find the relevant article and post more info. about this for you on this thread on monday if i can.

    Hope this helps!
  • Lomotil is chemically different from Immodium, but same idea. For some reason you can only get it on prescription. I found that Immodium just didn't work for me. I don't know why one should work and not the other, but it does. It has revolutionised my life - I really did try all other options and would have had to just give up running without it.

    Oh, and should I ever get called up to replace Shane Warne - it is a legal substance.
  • Thanks - I had better plan a visit to the doctor then as Imodium doesn't always work for me - I hope this will work, you seem very positive about it.

    Tried cutting our dairy products - no joy there - just lost weight

  • Although Lomotil is a great idea, I don't like doctors very much, so will try to 'play a little with food', although it'll be kind of hard as I am a constant picker. Think I read somehwere that it's not good to take Lomotil too much over the longterm. I was reminded by a friend that biscuits although relatively harmless in appearance can be quite fibrous so will try & cut back, so hard with a sweet tooth like mine!! Might also be my stomach rebelling against how much I eat. Guess you have to try different things, but I guess if a prescription works then at least there is some sort of answer.
    Here's to finding it!!
  • Wouldn't say this 100% reliable but have found drinking the Actimel/ Tesco( probiotic yogurt drinks) equivalent works, to settle things down
  • Neil - I have thought about trying Actimel, when do you take it, first thing in the morning?

  • I'd be very interested in reading the lactose intollerant article ... I had a cappuccino about an hour and a half before my long run yesterday and had my first really embarrassing experience with serious "trots". Luckily I found a loo but the stuff just fell out of me and the smell left me reeling! I've had a couple of these before but suspect increased distance and pace could make this a regular occurance judging from the other message here. I'd rather not take Imodium or prescribed medicine as I have had bouts of IBS and don't want to iritate things. Hoping to find a good solution before the Flora Half Marathon next month and then my first marathon on 13 April!
  • The risks of taking Lomotil long-term are related to the fact that it is an opiate derivative. Doctors have warned me that I may develop a dependency on it, but I honestly haven't. I have taken 6 weeks off running at a stretch before because of injury, as well as other shorter lay-offs, and have no problem at all. The health risks of my not running far outweigh any risks from taking the Lomotil. I would love to be able to run "naturally" - the taking of medication does go very much against the grain for me - but it just isn't ever going to happen for me. I always follow these discussions so I know that there are a lot of other solutions that do work for a lot of people, but some of us just do have ultra-sensitive guts and need a little help.
  • Whizzy - just first thing in the morning often before a run. Doesn't seem to do any harm , normally I wouldn't risk anything before a run. i think they claim it takes up to 2/52 before it works properly though.
  • I have had some very embarrassing moments with this problem. The only solution I have found is to have no heavy meals the night before a Sunday morning run, and no salads, fruit or vegetables at least 24 hours before- finish 'real' eating at about 1500 hours on a Saturday afternoon (pasta without meat or sauce) and then live on light yoghurt (nothing with berries in it) and maybe an omelette. Drink a lot of water. Did this before the LM and ran with gels in my back pocket. They got me through.
    Nomally during the week I watch my diet the night before a running day and I generally eat a lot of pasta. I have tried Imodium-made it worse.
  • Yes, I would agree with BB too.

    It was very frustrating when training for FLM cause I always had to choose routes that were near friends and families because I could never tell what would happen.

    Now that I am running for leisure, I have tried to analyse the problem.

    If I run in the morning, coffee, milk and any fruit is a no go. So it's water. No fruit day before.

    If I run in the evening. No coffee or milk after 12 mid-day and no fruit all day.

    Sometimes I will eat Porridge as carbs before my run but with water not milk.

    I also try to cut down on spicy foods and definitely not the day of running.

    Bearing in mind I generally run every other day and do gym and other sports, it's a constant dilemma.
  • It's reassuring to see I'm not alone with this rather embarrassing condition! I've not been running for the past two weeks as I'm in trouble within about 20 minutes now. Even 2 Imodium don't do the trick anymore. I'm loathe to take any more as I had very severe gastric problems after the Paris marathon this year, having taken 3. My GP has diagnosed IBS, but doesn't have any suggestions! I need to find a solution as I have to start some serious training quite soon. Is there a gastroenterologist out there with some pearls of wisdom they'd like to share?
  • My problem seems to be onions :-( So far, touch wood, steering more or less clear of them the day before a long run seems to work.
    = I also seem to have a bit of a problem with Cider, but not Wine.
  • Diane, I use Lomotil, which is also an anti-diarrhoeal but more effective than Immodium. Immodium just doesn't make the slightest difference for me, but with Lomotil I can run for hours quite happily. It is only available on presecription, though, but a sports doctor clued up on runner's trots should be able to help.
  • I have picked up on this thread again and am going to try the Aloe Vera suggested by Sassie - asking about this in the health food shop they seemed quite positive. I will try anything - I mentioned Lomotil to a Sports Doctor I saw recently and he said it was basically the same as taking Imodium. Next time I go to my GP I will tyr and get some Lomotil on prescription.

    Otherwise, we will all just have to keep trying to find things that suit us.
  • Whizzy, I just found that Lomotil worked for me and Immodium didn't. I don't know why that should be. It is a hassle having to get a prescription, but so much less hassle than not having it!
  • This thread was well worth searching for !! Thought i was the only one with this problem, i'm only a beginner but recently increased distance and trying to see if i can increase speed slightly and it can attack at any point after 4miles to the point where holding it in is harder than the running - got 10k next week and this is my biggest worry! Only thing that i can think of is to eat bland foods, no fibre, fruit etc for about 48hrs. Taken some consolation in not being the only one though!
  • Believe me, you're among friends. This thread is one of, maybe, 25 on the same subject. Seems to be no easy answer, although the commonest helper is Immodium.
  • Had this problem a year ago and ended up having three hospital appointments for tests as sometimes I was passing blood. A sigmoidoscopy (as unpleasant as it sounds!) revealed nothing. The consultant believed that my body was rebelling against the physical stress of training - I was gearing up for the London Marathon but had to pull out because of this problem. He prescribed tablets to take before meals to stop my stomach from going into spasm but I would forget to take them. In the end I took nine months off..... BUT when I started running again the first thing I bought was a heart rate monitor to stop myself overdoing things and, touch wood, I have had no reoccurences and am feeling fitter than ever. Maybe an HRM is the answer?
  • I have recently started running and can manage up to 5k without any problems, but after 6k I am struck by terrible stomach/bowel problems and the urgent need to find a bush!!

    Thought it was just me that had this problem ... I've tried Immodium but that didn't help at all.

    It's not as if I am even running that fast, so slowing down isn't actually an option.

    Thanks everybody for all the suggestions on this topic, I will try them out - I'm doing the Nike 10k this Sunday and was considering giving it a miss until I found this website.
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