Eating while running is tricky for many runners. Your stomach has a hard time shuttling enough blood to your stomach to digest while at the same time pumping it to your running muscles to keep them moving. This is an issue both marathon runners and ultrarunners have to deal with at some point. The best place to start is during training.
As always, there are those select few who can just eat whatever they want along the course and don’t have any problems and then there is the other end of the spectrum who even glance in the direction of food they get sick.
Most of us fall somewhere in between. Over the past few years, I’ve completely changed my eating life style to attempt to manage stomach problems while running. I did this by switching to a low carbohydrate diet. Eating Low Carb made it so I didn’t have to take in many calories while I was running, which was just fine by me because then my stomach wouldn’t have any problems. This worked for about a year and a half.
Low carb was awesome during that time and then all of a sudden it wasn’t. I don’t know what went wrong or if it just ran out of steam. I was meticulous at counting carbs so I know I didn’t go over my daily carb intake, I was just tired all the time. I couldn’t get going on my runs. So I switched back to a high carb diet and I feel much better. I’ve talked with other ultrarunners who have tried the low carb diet and they have reported similar results and have also switched back.
Since coming back into the carb loving world, I’ve had to seriously work on eating while running. Of course, I had tried to work on this before, but I went about it all wrong. I read articles about how other ultrarunners had “Taught” their bodies to deal with both running and digesting at the same time and their suggestions was run on a full stomach.
That route probably works for some people. It didn’t work for me.
Eating while running marathons was never really an issue. I could use gu and be fine for the run. It wasn’t until I began running ultra’s that the eating became an issue.
So what have I been doing? Small bites. Don’t laugh. I know it seems like a no brainer, but it took me a while to figure this out.
I can’t wait until I’m ravenous before I start eating because then I want to eat the entire granola bar or everything at the aid station buffet.
I have to take a bite, drink some water, run a while, drink some water, run a while, and take another bite. The amount of running I do depends on what I’ve eaten. The more time it is going to need to digest (the more complex the food is and more protein it has) the longer I run and just keep drinking water. Drinking is the same way, which I’ve known for a long time. You can’t guzzle water or sports drinks, well I can’t anyway.
Let me know how all of you manage eating while running…
Run Happy, Run Free!