Perhaps too much information? An over-share? Then you should stop reading now.
According to a recent article I received from Active.com, “An estimated 30 to 50 percent of distance runners experience exercise-related intestinal problems, with women experiencing more problems than do men.” I am in that 30-50 percent. I’ve gone years running with GI distress. I’m talking painful cramping and diarrhea during a run and lasting for hours after a run. (Just last month, I wrote a blog entry about a long run turned horrible as my gut was in overdrive for 2 hours of my run and at least 3 hours post-run.)
Let me cross the line even further and admit, “My name is Maggie and I have pooped in my running tights while running.” I’m not proud of it, and I wish that didn’t have to happen, but it did. And I’ve discovered it’s happened to a lot of distance runners. Go ahead, ask them!
I’ve been going like crazy trying to figure out how to make my GI tract cooperate, and just when I was about to give up training for the full marathon and switch to the half marathon, I tried 2 new things: L-Glutamine (thanks, Drea!) and peppermint oil tablets (thanks, Miss Zippy!)
Sidenote: There’s a fabulous book, blog and Facebook group called Run Like a Mother. A few weeks ago, I posted my GI issue on the Facebook group page and received dozens of helpful comments and suggestions. Miss Zippy responded swearing by peppermint oil tablets, one brand being Pepogest. Run Like a Mother on Facebook is a terrific chat group and I highly recommend taking a peek at it. Their blog is also a favorite of mine.)
For the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve been taking L-Glutamine 3 times a day, as suggested by an experienced runner friend of mine. Glutamine is the primary fuel for the lining of the small intestine. And right before heading out the door for my past 2 long runs, I’ve taken 1 peppermint oil tablet, peppermint being something used for centuries as a digestive aid.
So how did the longs runs go?
Last week I ran nearly 16 miles, drank Gu Brew from my handheld bottle AND ate 2 Gu gels. It was my longest run this training season and the most I’ve consumed during one run. I was ecstatic to have made it through the entire run with absolutely no GI distress. I felt like a whole new person!
This morning I ran nearly 13 miles. Again, I drank Gu Brew and had just 1 Gu gel, and once again – no GI distress! Being cramp-free during and after my runs has left me feeling alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic, and of course, a bit sore in the legs – exactly the way running should feel. L-Glutamine and Pepogest, I love you. Now let’s just hope this lasts…