Running & S****ing
March 24, 2012 6:43 PM Subscribe
Two weeks today I'm running a half-marathon (my first). The running is not the problem; issues with my digestion and its effects are. How can I deal with running and the need to poop?
I'm down to run a half-marathon in fourteen days. I haven't run this distance before, although I'm pretty proficient at shorter distances. I've been training hard, and I'm confident that all else being equal I can do the distance without too much pain and suffering. But there's a complication. I have had a medical condition related to my stomach and oesophagus for a few years now, for which I take daily medication. One of the side effects of this med regime is that I experience some IBS-like symptoms (hell, it could really be IBS to be honest): the chronic urgent need to poop which cannot be quelled, bouts of appalling fecal laxity, you get the picture, but it's all extremely unpredictable. Believe me when I say diet doesn't change this, and the meds have been juggled and chopped and changed and the regime I'm currently on is an improvement to how things were. So, with my running, I can be merrily out on the road in the middle of nowhere and get suddenly horribly gripped by a all-powerful need to shit, and it's impossible to carry on. After a couple of close things, I settled on a scheme: how it usually works is I go out first thing in a morning, twice a week, and I make sure that the day before I eat a very light lunch and then skip dinner entirely, so that I have very little in my system, physically, and this will be alright for me to get through an hour's running. But as I've increased my distances in these morning runs in prep for the half-marathon, I've found that with this scheme of very limited food intake 24 hours before running, I find the second hour extremely hard going indeed, almost impossible. So I was wondering if the hive mind has something insight here. Is this a common problem for runners (I don't know any to ask)? Can it be overcome by eating normally, and then taking some sort of pill (like an anti-diarrhea pill) to jam myself all up inside? Or can I get energy from non-food forms, like runners drinks or bars or gels or something? Any other idea about energy-rich foods that will have a very very light impact on my digestive system?