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Runner’s Trots

 

Question & Answer:  Frequent bathroom breaks while on the run aka “Runner’s Trots”

Question:   I am so hopeful you have time to respond to this question. I am a runner. I average about 40 miles a week, and compete in marathons and halfs. I am pretty fit. 5’7” 135lbs. I love running, and try to keep a good diet. The problem I have though, which doesn’t seem too rare, but is embarrassing, is that every time I go for a run, or run on my treadmill, I have to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, even multiple times before I can get my miles in. I don’t eat fatty foods, so I am confused on what to eat. I live in a rural area, so there are no bathrooms on the road like the city offers. So often times I have to find a discrete place to relieve myself. And I go a lot throughout the day, definitely more than the average person. I know this is kinda funny, and I wouldn’t blame you if you are chuckling right now. But it has become increasingly bothersome, and I need to know what to do, or eat. Is there any way to stop this from happening? Thanks for your time!!! John

Answer:   Hi John.  Thanks for the question.  Unfortunately over the years I have coached many people that have had this problem.  I think the first thing to do would be to start logging the foods you are consuming and see if there is some sort of sensitivity you are having to certain foods.  Be sure and track your BM’s (Bowel Movements) & exercise.  Many people are sensitive to foods that contain fructose (the sugar found in fruit).  If this is the case you can simply avoid having fruits, foods or juices with fructose before or during runs.  Some electrolyte beverages, bars and gels contain fructose, so be sure and read labels.  Dairy, spicy, fatty and high fiber foods can also be problematic for many runners so you will want to avoid these before a run too.  Some food sweetners can also cause problems (ie. sorbitol, aspartame etc…) so be on the lookout for these in sugar-free gums, candy, breath mints, etc…High doses of Vitamin C can cause the “trots” so review any supplements you might be taking.  Dehydration can also trigger bowel movements so be sure and stay hydrated with water.  Be careful with beverages that tend to dehydrate (diuretics) like coffee, tea, alcohol and foods containing caffeine.  Warm beverages can also stimulate gastric emptying.  You might also consider not eating anything too close to running (within two hours) since there is a decreased blood flow to the intestines while running and it may compromise digestion and cause the stomach to be upset.  After logging your foods, and if you can not detect any sensitivity to foods or food patterns then your problem may be related to the muscles or something else.  Another possible cause would be that the muscles in the intestines & stomach are being stimulated to contract more rapidly with the “jarring” of running.  I wonder if you would have the same result using an elliptical in lou of some running to see if it makes a difference.  You could give it a try and see.  Stress or having the “jitters” can exacerbate this problem so be sure and stay relaxed.  If not, then unfortunately I don’t think there is an easy fix to this, but I have had some clients find that using anti-diarrhea over-the-counter medications, like Imodium, before races and important workouts to be helpful.  I would caution you against doing this too much.  It would also not be a bad idea to consult physician to rule out anything else that could be going on.  There are other diseases that could cause this problem like colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac (gluten intolerance), etc… It’s worth getting it checked out just to be sure.

Happy Running,


Coach Lora Erickson

“Blonde Runner”

USATF certified running coach

www.BlondeRunner.com

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Brad Anderson Interview

You can click to play the interview below and also you can click the “Download” button to download the MP3 file.


Ken: Hello everybody, we’ve got Brad Anderson on the line and we’re really excited to interview him. He’s one of our first interviews for this year and we were trying to look for a story about a runner in Utah that would inspire you and motivate you as you look forward to 2012 and setting your goals and working toward those goals in 2012. We feel that Brad is a great story and it’s inspiring to us. We hope that you will be inspired as well. Brad, thanks for doing the interview with us.

Brad: Good to be here.

Ken: Maybe to start out, could you give the utahrunning.com community a bit of background about how you started with running, and maybe some of the highlights from your high school career?

Brad: My dad was a runner and really as long as I can remember I wanted to be a runner. I thought it was cool. We’d go to some of his races and I was just kind of faster than a lot of kids my age. I’m drawn to it.

My first race was either a quarter-mile or half-mile road race in Liberty, Utah. I won it and I was hooked from then on. Growing up, I was never pushed to train. I’d do some 5Ks here and there and kind of kept winning my age group. I thought that was cool.

Then when I got into high school a funny thing happened. All the other kids catch up to you but I was regional champ my freshman year and placed in state. I was a 2A runner. Working through that I won some more regional titles. Kind of a highlight for me was my first state title my junior year. It had been a goal for such a long time so I actually won my first state title. That was probably one of my biggest highlight because of the hard work and all my goals had paid off. That’s a brief rundown of my running career when I was younger.

Ken: Which event did you win the state title?

Brad: I won the half mile and the mile. My first was the mile. My second was two miles. I should have won that one too but you know how it goes.

Ken: You started out having some great experiences with running, some fun experiences in high school and won a couple of state titles it sounds like, mile and you were in an accident. Would you mind sharing about that experience with us?

Brad: I was coming into my senior year. Over the summer I’d gotten faster than I’d ever been. One of my main goals was to take state in cross country. My two previous seasons I was sick at state and didn’t finish very well. My goal was to take state. I was faster than ever and really excited.

About a week into school my senior year there was a football game. After it they had movies at the seminary building so I was hanging out there. Some people hit me up about going down to Ogden to a Taco Maker. I wasn’t going to go but a girl — girls in general had a hold on me, if you will. I go down and get me a taco, so I said sure. I went to get in one car but there wasn’t enough room to buckle so I got into a different car.

Next thing I remember I woke up in the hospital but essentially going down Weaver Canyon we overcorrected right by the power station. The car rolled and kind of rolled down the driveway there at the power station. They said my head hit the road at 75 miles an hour and also hit a pole.

Things weren’t that great. They didn’t think I would be alive for my parents to make it to the hospital. That first night I wasn’t supposed to live through the night. The next few days they didn’t think I was going to live after that. Who knows maybe a coma.

All the news my parents got was not good. I’d never be able to live on my own again, things like that. Then after a week or so in there things kind of turned around for me. Instead of nothing happening, things started to go in the right direction.

My injuries were traumatic brain injury, which there is no cure for a brain injury. You just deal with it and your brain will learn how to do things again. After a few weeks I woke up from the coma. All the muscle in my left side had lost its memory so I couldn’t talk, couldn’t eat, couldn’t walk, and couldn’t move my left arm at all.

At that time I was moved to the University of Utah where I had to learn to walk again. My biggest question every day to therapist was will I run again. They’d say we don’t know. At the time I didn’t realize how serious my injuries were. I remember first thinking I’ll be out in time for state cross country, I’ll take state. I was like I’ll take state and set state records in track.

As time went on I sort of learned that maybe I wasn’t going to be out in time because it was more serious. But my goal was to run again. The longer things went on the more I realized I might not run again. I was optimistic but I made up my mind that if I wasn’t going to run again it was not because of anything I did, like I didn’t work hard enough in physical therapy or didn’t try again. I was realistic about it. I knew the injuries I had but I decided I wanted to run again and was going to do anything I could to do it.

Ken: You were pretty determined. At what point did the doctors start to give you a bit of hope that the road back to running again was a possibility?

Brad: It was always we don’t know. Every day I’d ask my therapist and one day she said probably not. That was when it kind of sunk in to me that this is pretty bad. Other than the optimistic hope of you do what you can, but I never from my recollection never had “you know, you may run again.” In my medical records too, it was talking to the family that I needed to kind of understand that I may not run again.

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by on Jan.19, 2012, under Expert Answers, Interviews

Cold Weather Running

When changing to winter running there are a few changes that will allow you to continue training through the winter. Clothing makes a big difference. There are fabrics that will wick away moisture as you sweat and still retain your body heat. Cotton should be avoided in the winter. Once you start sweating with cotton as the sweat cools it will freeze and make you even colder. The new fabrics will retain the body heat even while wet.

Layering of clothing is important. You want to be able to take clothing off if necessary. Don’t over dress. For winter running you should be uncomfortable in the cold while standing. If you are not you are over dressed.

The head and hands, wrist area, are areas where body heat can be controlled. Having a stocking hat or ear band and gloves that you can take on and off to allow you to regulate your body temperature as you run is helpful. In very cold weather mittens work best for keeping your fingers warm.

Tights and full, three quarter, or half tights work best for allowing you to have normal leg movement and keeping the legs warm. I will have my athletes warm up in full tights and then remove layers to three quarter or half tights to run a hard workout or to race.

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by on Jan.19, 2012, under Expert Answers, Winter Running

What’s in a Runner’s Diet?

The wonderful Utah spring thaw seems to have taken hold. With the mercury rising and your log boasting more miles, it is important to consider how you are fueling those miles. I am often asked how much a training athlete needs to eat in order to maintain health and boost performance. The answer, of course, depends on various factors including age, height, weight, gender, medical concerns, and training regimen; however, there are some key pointers for all training athletes to consider.

  • Eat breakfast – whether you choose to eat before or after a run should depend on what you want to get out of that particular training session and what your body is telling you. If you head out the door first thing in the morning for an easy distance run (under an hour), you are safe to have some water and head out the door with breakfast planned upon your return. Should you have a more intense session planned for the morning (tempo run, long run, or interval training), your performance and energy level will benefit from a light breakfast prior to the workout. Experiment with various carbohydrate rich foods to find what works best for you. Choices may include sport drinks, toast, cereal with milk, yogurt, sport bars etc… Since this pre-run breakfast is likely a smaller meal, a recovery snack (or breakfast part II) is a post-workout MUST.
    • EXAMPLES:
      • Breakfast After light morning run: 1 ¼  c cooked oatmeal topped with almonds, banana, and blueberries. Enjoy with a cup of milk
      • Breakfast split around workout:
        • Before workout – 8oz Gatorade; slice of toast with peanut butter, banana & honey
        • Post workout – 1 ½ cups cereal with 1 cup milk, & fruit
        • Stay Hydrated – keeping yourself hydrated during the day will help you stay in better touch with your body’s signals (i.e., hunger, fatigue, thirst). Remember that your hydration status is not dependent only on water consumption. Milk, sport drinks, fruits, veggies, soups, coffee, tea, juice – all of these foods and beverages contribute to your hydration status. If your urine is light yellow and you are going several times per day, you are on the right track. Keep a water bottle with you and get into the habit of drinking with meals.
        • Hungry? Pay attention to what your body is telling you. It is easy to get busy and forget that your body actually sends messages to your brain about when to eat and when to stop eating. Snacks during the day can help curb hunger and the potential to overeat if you do get too hungry. Plan snacks to support workouts. If you workout in the afternoon, consider having a light lunch and a recovery snack after the workout. Then have dinner. If you eat before your run in the morning, maybe a light mid morning snack before lunch will help keep your hunger at bay.  No matter when you incorporate your snacks, be sure to include both carbohydrate and protein for maximum performance benefit AND better staying power (adding protein helps keep you full a bit longer, and carbohydrate will replenish the “tank” after a workout or provide fuel for an upcoming workout.)
          • SNCAK EXAMPLES:
            • Whole grain crackers or pretzels & string cheese
            • Apple or banana with peanut butter
            • Veggies with hummus
            • Sport bar
            • Yogurt with or without  1/4c granola
            • 1/3 c Nuts & dried fruit
            • toast with peanut butter/almond butter & honey
            • glass of chocolate milk (great post workout snack)
            • Packet of instant oatmeal
            • Granola
            • Fruit with string cheese
            • Recover! Remember to recover with a carbohydrate & protein rich snack within an hour (preferably within 30 minutes) after long runs and interval sessions. You will recover faster, experience less muscle soreness, and be ready to go sooner than if you wait. Check out the specific recovery article on UtahRunning.com.

So what does a typical runner’s eating plan look like? Keeping in mind that portion sizes will vary based on the considerations listed above, runners should eat breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon or post workout snack, dinner, and then possibly an evening snack based on hunger level, training volume, and goals. Here is an example of a 2600-calorie eating plan.

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Postpartum Exercise Part 1: Checklist

It has been six weeks since I delivered our 2nd baby and with the okay from my doctor it is now time to start exercising again. But where to start? With the birth of our first baby I jumped right back into running as soon as possible. I was able to get back into shape fairly fast, but a couple months later I ended up with some lower back problems that put me out for months. My conclusion is that I came back too fast. While my cardiovascular system may have been ready to handle the pounding and the mileage, my core was not. I had not sufficiently strengthened my abs, hips, and back after giving birth. I am determined to do it right this time and although I’m not 100% sure I’ve got it all figured out I think I’ve got some good ideas to start from. Anywho, I thought I would share my “comeback” experience in hopes that it will benefit other mothers out there trying to find their legs again.

Checklist to get started:

1. Single/Double Jogger…check!
2. New Workout Shoes (not mandatory, but I want to know that I’ve eliminated shoes as the source of the problem if injuries pop up)…check!
4. Yoga DVD’s (I would recommend the Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga)…check!
3. Training Plan…check!
4. Communication with husband on when workout time will take place :-) …check!

by Janae Richardson – Runner | Coach

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Dealing with Injury

“As a runner how do I deal with injury and the frustration of not being able to participate in the sport that is so much a part of my everyday life?”

Most likely at some point in our running careers each of us will be faced with a running injury and possibly be asking ourselves the same question. Whether it be a major or minor injury, if it affects our running routine it can be frustrating. Why is this when most of the world would be delighted to have an excuse not to run? Runners are a different breed.

Over time, running becomes not only what we do, but it is how we identify ourselves. Running can become so much a part of who we are that when this aspect of our lives is taken away from us we are left feeling lost (I know, I know—pathetic, but true). Our focus, our drive, and our motivation become fuzzy. Now we all know it is not the end of the world to take a break from running (we do have lives outside of running…don’t we?), but when we are the one on the “injured list” life can seem kind of bleak.

I started running in junior high and I continued to run all through high school. After high school I competed for four years on the track and cross country team at Weber State University. Interestingly enough, throughout my junior high, high school, and college career I can’t remember having an injury that ever took me out for more than a week or two. It wasn’t until after giving birth to our first child in 2009 that I dealt with my first major injury. I had started running again, but I soon developed some lower back problems that halted my running pursuits for several months.

It wasn’t until the beginning of 2010 that I was feeling pain free and at a point where I could start building up my mileage again. After only a couple of months of training, I was encouraged by how good I was feeling.

So, in April 2010 I decided to run the Salt Lake Half Marathon just to see where I was at. I hadn’t raced in a long time and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I surprised myself when I finished in third place (out of the women) and ran my best half marathon time of 1:21:50. I was still a long way off from where I wanted to be, but it gave me confidence and I began considering pursuing one of my “big” running goals again—qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials. My plan was to continue training hard through the summer of 2010 and then look to run a fast marathon in the fall.

Things seemed to be falling into place when I found out the Salt Lake Half Marathon time qualified me to participate in the Chicago Marathon (a great fall marathon to run a fast time) under the elite development program. I set out training with my new goal in mind, but about a month after the Salt Lake Half, I started having problems with my right foot. At first I tried to run through it, but eventually I realized I needed to take time off or it was never going to heal. Any training at this point was just counterproductive. Well, days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and I ended up taking 5 months off from running. It was a very frustrating time in my running career, but I did learn a lot from the experience.

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