With fall racing season well under way, lots of runners are either putting the final touches on their preparations or lining up to show off their hard work. One of the easiest ways to derail all of this hard work is through gastrointestinal issues mid race. They’re all too common and something that can be avoided with the right preparation.
The IAAF has released several open access research articles that detail nutrition tips for every kind of runner. For long distance runners, they recommend experimenting with low-fibre foods ahead of race day as high-fibre foods can cause frequent bathroom trips (every runner’s worst nightmare). According to the IAAF, the key foods to avoid are dried and fresh fruit, raw vegetables and foods with a pulp or skin. Below are examples of foods that are extremely high in fibre and aren’t recommended just before the gun goes.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t give up high-fibre foods throughout your entire build, just the evening before and morning of a key workout or race.
Prunes are dried plums and one of the most fibrous foods available. One serving, which is only seven to eight dried prunes, is nearly 30 per cent of your daily fibre intake. Prunes are easy to over-consume–they’re sweet and good for you, but ahead of a marathon make sure you scale back your prune intake.
Too much coffee
Coffee tolerance is very personal from runner to runner. If you’re an experienced coffee drinker, then you likely know how much you can tolerate ahead of a run. If you’re not, remember the rule: nothing new on race day.
Beans are fibre and protein rich and one of the best foods for you, except when you’re heading to a start line. Half a cup of black beans has 32 per cent of your daily fibre, so save your favourite bean-heavy dish for post-race.
Raw cabbage/brussels sprouts
Both cabbage and brussels sprouts are part of a family of foods known as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are quite trendy right now and are great for you. But cruciferous vegetables, while delicious, can be a little harder to digest. Avoid big salads filled with raw vegetables the night before your race, and if you still want some veggies with your dinner, just cook them (it makes them easier to digest).
Raspberries are one of the highest-fibre fruits, so keep that in mind if you’re knocking them back as your healthy pre-race dessert.
When it comes to apples, most of the fibre is in the peel, so if you’ve got a craving just be sure to peel them for a pre-race snack.