Stressing about the runs
What researchers euphemistically call “lower gastrointestinal symptoms” are an all-toocommon problem for runners. According to a University of Illinois study presented at the ACSM meeting, 65.7 per cent of runners “sometimes or often” experienced lower GI symptoms, and these symptoms interfered with training for 17.1 per cent of them.
Another new study, from Patrick Wilson of Old Dominion University, monitored the training of 150 runners for a month and looked for patterns that might explain unwanted port-a-potty stops. One unexpected finding was that self-reported stress and anxiety were associated with increased risk of GI symptoms – a reminder of the importance of considering overall health rather than focusing on one organ or body part . Perhaps more encouragingly, the frequency of GI symptoms declined with age and years of running, suggesting that most of us eventually get better at avoiding foods and run habits that trigger GI distress.