Digestion Problems During Morning Run

by Mark

I am training for a marathon. What food should I eat the night before I go for a long run the next morning, so I don't get stomach cramps after a couple of miles.
I generally eat pasta/potatoes the evening before.
What can I do?

Answer by Dominique:

Thanks for your running question.
Running in the morning can be quite tough on the body system. In fact, not just in the morning. Many runners suffer from what we call "runner's trots" or a bit neater, the need to defecate while running...

There are multiple theories about why this happens to runners, although no conclusive answer is yet known. The theories about your digestion problem are:

  • A high-fibre diet (many fruits and vegetables are high in fibre).

  • Running causes enough movements for the colon up and down and sideways to get stimulated.

  • Exercise/Running abruptly lowers the amount of blood going to the digestive system - this "shakes things up" causing stomach issues.

  • The last theory has been studied extensively and results of studies seem to point out that this is a valid reason why runners suffer from "the trots". When runners get dehydrated and the blood circulation to the digestive system goes down, this "shake-up" happens dramatically more often.

    So... on to possible remedies:

  • Take a good look at your diet and see if you can make subtle changes. Of course you want to keep on eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, but possibly avoid eating these late at night when you know you are running the next morning.

  • Have a good drink of water (e.g. 10-12 ounces) before you start your morning run to avoid dehydration and then drink 3-4 ounces every 15-20 minutes. Drinking lots of water may cause a problem with "number ones" though...

  • There are some over-the-counter medicines which can help, but this should be a last resort. You do not want to poison your body with chemicals if it is not absolutely necessary.

  • Keep a running log of what you eat and of the symptoms during the run. Maybe you can pick certain foods or food combinations that work well or do not work well with you.

  • I hope this helps a bit.
    Good luck with this issue and with your marathon training.

    Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Running Training Helpline.

    Like this page:

    Share this page:

    Like this site:

    [?] Subscribe To This Site

    follow us in feedly
    Add to My Yahoo!


    • Beginner Running Tips

      Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.

    • Running for Weight Loss

      Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.

    • Running Training

      The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.

    • 5k Running Tips

      The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.

    • 10k Running Tips

      The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!

    • Marathon Running Tips

      The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!

    What's New?

    1. Pyramid Training - What's the Deal?

      Could you please explain pyramid training for different zones? I have seen it in running programs before and I actually didn't understand the method described

      Read more

    2. Best Tips to Start Running - Six Beginner Running Tips That Will Help You Get Started With Running

      Want to start running but wonder how? Check out these six best tips to start running and get off with a running start!

      Read more

    3. Running in the Morning and Bike in the Afternoon

      I am currently trying to work-up to running a 5k but also lose weight. I run 3 times a week and bike 3 times a week. I want to increase that so I do

      Read more

    4. Improve Running When Over 50 Years Old

      Hello, My name is Roger age 56, I have been running for over 25 years and before this I played local footbal Saturday and Sundays in the season. 20

      Read more

    5. How Many Kilometers Can I Run With My Running Shoes?

      Hello, there is one question I'd like to know. I run three to four times a week and my actual shoes are Nike Vomero which I really like. Is there any

      Read more