GI Woes and Running (Continued)

Recommendations for Minimizing Exercise-Related GI Symptoms during Training or Competition


  • Ø Solid food should be avoided during the last 3 hours prior to exercise.
  • Ø Liquid foods can be taken as a pre-competition meal and also during exercise.
  • Ø When focusing on hydration, water should be the source.  Don’t consume large amounts of highly concentrated carbohydrate drinks/supplements just to stay hydrated.
  • Ø When maximum intakes of both carbohydrate and water are desired, consider diluting the concentration of the carbohydrate source (For example, if you want to use gel packs, you may have to start with a very low concentration and gradually work toward a higher concentration.)
  • Ø Athletes suffering frequently from diarrhea or the urge to defecate during exercise may benefit from liquid meal supplements (low in fiber content) during the last day preceding competition.
  • Ø Drinking during exercise should be part of the training program. (Your nutrition/supplementation regimen must be part of your training.  Don’t wait until race day to try something new.)
  • Ø In addition, high-fiber foods and caffeine should be avoided prior to exercise.

Source:  Adapted from Brouns et al. 1987.


Examples of Pre-Event Meals:

(should be high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein)


  • Ø Plain cereal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Ø Oatmeal/Cream of Wheat with low-fat milk and fruit juice
  • Ø Pancakes with syrup
  • Ø Toast or muffins with honey/jam/syrup
  • Ø Banana sandwich (minimal PB or mayo)
  • Ø Smoothie prepared with low-fat milk/soy milk, low-fat yogurt and fruit
  • Ø Commercially prepared liquid meal replacement-NOT high fiber
  • Ø Pasta with low-fat sauce (marinara)


More questions?  Feel free to email me at


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