Training for a marathon with IBS

Marathon training with IBS and Kate Percy

This year is a big one for me. I’m running in the Virgin London Marathon, it’s my first marathon. But, I have IBS. Let’s just say everything is shits and giggles until someone giggles and shits applies to me more than most people realise.

The thing is, I’m running for charity and I don’t want to let them down (and you can donate to my marathon JustGiving page too). Thankfully, I have some help. Kate Percy from Go Faster Food has agreed to take on my plight of running a long distance with a dodgy tum. On the night that we were supposed to talk about the marathon, my food plans, and make fun of how I run, disaster struck. I had eaten a pizza which didn’t agree with me. The result? Having to text Kate while I was on the loo, lie about why we couldn’t have a chat, and then question my life choices (including why I didn’t bother to cook that night).  Not my finest moment. The next day, I confessed my tummy troubles. Thankfully, Kate was understanding about the whole thing and I promised that I would never phone her while I was on the pot. But in the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d share some fun facts about marathon training when you have insides like mine.

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Kate is the founder of Go Faster Food and has helped athletes around the world to train better. Kate has been endorsed by plenty of professional athletes and is responsible for her husbands training for the New York Marathon. This girl knows her chicken from her turkey.

Diet is everything

To make sure that I have the strength to get going, I have to make sure that I eat right. Eating loads of protein can help to, er, block the system, if you know what I mean. I found that out after a guy I worked with years ago had locked himself in the toilets after having too many protein shakes. He then had to take a few days off because he had made himself so badly constipated. For an IBS sufferer, this can be helpful. High sugar, such as gels, can really set off a tummy.

Runners Tummy is the worst

Does everyone remember the scandal a while ago about the woman who kept crapping outside someone’s house? She was out for a run and just dropped her pants and then dropped something else.  Yeah, I feel her pain. But by eating proper food (see the point above) this can help with the dreaded runner’s tummy. High fibre food can make it worse (because fibre helps colonic health, which translates to making you go).

I live on imodium

The best piece of advice I was ever given was to take tablets to help prevent runners tummy. Even people who don’t suffer too badly take them because runners tummy can hit anyone running a longer distance. Although this is not recommended by doctors or by the packet, a lot of runners take them. Should you? I don’t know. But what I do know is that if I don’t, I WILL have an issue.

Awkward moments happen

I don’t know how recycling works in your area, but here we have to recycle food and garden waste. Dog poop can go in there too. What we do is scoop the poop and put it into a compostable bag, and then put it in the bin. Why am I telling you this? Because races are won by available toilets. If there are no toilets…I make my own. It’s not ideal but neither is shitting my pants.

If all else fails

There are a few ideas of what to do, just in case. Wearing dark running tights can cover any mishaps. Working on your core can help prevent muscles from jiggling about which can make tummy troubles appear.  Being well hydrated with water (not sports drinks) is one of the more popular opinions.

Any ideas for an idiot who signed up for a marathon and will probably have an accident on the way around? Let me know in the comments. Or if you want to sponsor me, here is my JustGiving page. All the money raised will go to Enham Trust, a fantastic charity that helps vulnerable adults live an independent life. 

2 thoughts on “Training for a marathon with IBS

  1. My IBS is seriously affecting my runs, but it’s less about diet (although it plays a big part) and more about anxiety. I get SO nervous about runs and it inevitably triggers me. It can really have a negative effect on my experience.

    1. I will admit, stress is part of the problem but most of my issues are from diet. It’s going to be hit and miss until I work out all my tummy triggers 🙂

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