Does running through the park have you running to the bathroom? Check out these top tips on how to tame your tummy on your next jog


If you’ve ever had that gut-wrenching ache, followed by a desperate need to go to the bathroom during or after a run, you’re not alone. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that 30 to 90 per cent of distance runners have experienced runner’s stomach, the term given to intestinal problems suffered by some runners.

“Most runners have experienced this, whether it’s in the form of vomiting, nausea or diarrhea,” says Katherine Smyth, Squamish-based licensed acupuncturist at Squamish Mountain Medicine and personal trainer to some of the top athletes and coaches in Canada.

The solution, Smyth tells Wellness Matters, is simple. “It often comes down to diet, when you’ve eaten, how much is sitting in your intestines, how strong your digestive system is and, more often than not, dehydration.”

So what can you do to avoid runner’s stomach? Here are Smyth’s top tips:

  • Avoid cold foods and drinks first thing in the morning or before a run. They make the stomach contract, preventing digestion, which only occurs when the stomach is warm.

  • Before your run, avoid anything too high in fat or fibre. Instead opt for high-protein, nutrient dense food like yams, eggs or oatmeal.

  • Bring ginger chews on your run. Ginger root has been shown to help reduce nausea and vomiting.

  • Make sure you are hydrated, pre- and post-workout.

  • Practice new nutrition strategies. Everyone is different, so remember what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.