How to Prevent Stomach Issues when Running
Having an upset stomach when running can turn a great run into a catastrophe in a matter of seconds. Also known as runners stomach, I have yet to find a runner that hasn’t encountered GI issues with running. The farther you go the more likely you are to need our bathroom map to cure your upset stomach when running. Research conducted at the Western States (100 mile) Endurance Run found the most common reason runners dropped out of the race was due to stomach issues when running. Diagnosing Stomach Problems is hard enough. It’s so common and there doesn’t seem to be a fool proof way to avoid it.
After trying quite a few tricks and techniques, I’ve found the best approach is to be prepared for the worst stomach issues when running. They are going to happen from time to time. Here are a couple easy, quick and effective ways I’ve found how to prevent stomach issues when running.
Cures for Stomach Issues when Running
It’s common knowledge that ginger helps soothe an upset stomach, but can it be used to cure an upset stomach when running? I found that ginger chews (‘Gin Gins’, which are small, individually wrapped candies) work really well. I first used a ginger chew at the Ice Age Trail 50 after finding it in my race bag. I threw a couple in my pocket during the race and ended up using it to soothe a stomach ache about halfway through. Within minutes I was feeling better, and didn’t have any other problems. I’ve used it during a few more runs found it to work consistently well.
The individual packaging makes ginger chews easy to carry so you can eat one as soon as you start to feel an upset stomach when running. Their chewiness, like caramel, make them difficult to eat while moving however. I recently tried ginger mints, thinking it would be similar, but without the chewiness, and found out they didn’t work as well.
Where to buy Ginger Chews
Ginger chews are made by a company called Gin Gins and can be bought at a number of grocery stores (e.g. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and several others). See if they will help your stomach issues when running.
Kombucha can Calm an upset Stomach when Running
A fermented tea, packed with live bacteria (i.e. probiotics); Kombucha both aids with digestion and boosts immunity. I decided to bring some Kombucha to the Wild Duluth 50k just in case I had stomach issues when running, and it paid off big time. About 20 miles into the race I started feeling nauseous. It was bad enough that I wasn’t sure I could run another 11 miles to the finish.
At the next aid station I drank the bottle of Kombucha and in a matter of minutes I started feeling better. Within about 15 minutes the nausea had completely disappeared and I was able to finish the race feeling relatively good.
Kombucha comes in a glass bottle that is pretty difficult to carry while running. If you bring it to a race you’ll need to either have a crew at the race to carry it, or dump it into a plastic bottle and put it in a drop bag.
Where to buy Kombucha
There are several companies that make Kombucha and in several different flavors (I prefer the Gingerade). You can also brew it yourself if you’re feeling ambitious. Whole foods, Co-ops (The Wedge, Seward, East Side) and Lund’s and Byerly’s are a few places who carry it.
Have you encountered stomach issues while running? What have you found to help manage them?
Hopefully the above remedies will help cure your upset stomach when running the next time you’re out for a long run.