Ask the Coach - Page 2
I have been experiencing what is commonly referred to as the “runner’s trots”—stomachache followed by a need to use the bathroom. It normally happens around mile nine or 10, and either cuts my run short or forces me to have “more intimate contact with nature.” I have tried cutting back on fiber before long runs, hydrating more and avoiding fats, but nothing works.
—Viviana Delgado, Alexandria, VA
The age-old problem of “runner’s trots” needs to be reexamined in light of what we now know about our micro-biomes and gut permeability. Says sports nutritionist Ben Greenfield of BenGreenfieldFitness.com, “In most athletes, runner’s trots are due to poor intestinal health, rather than simply consuming too many calories or too much fiber.”
When your stomach lining becomes damaged, or permeable, it allows food particles to pass through the intestinal cell wall and into your bloodstream. Your body responds by mounting an autoimmune response; unfortunately the quickest way to rid the body of these invaders is diarrhea.
Food allergies are a common cause, but certain antacid drugs can thin the stomach lining, making gut damage more likely. Avoid grains, dairy and beans; these foods (especially when left unsoaked or unsprouted) contain protective agents called lectins, which bind to and compromise the stomach villi.
Greenfield says certain foods can strengthen the integrity of the gut cell wall, including bone broth, collagen, colostrum, probiotics and fermented foods such as Kim Chi, kefir, sauerkraut and natto.
FLATS FOR RECOVERY?
After a meniscus injury, I am slowly building up to running again with a combination of run-walking on both grass and pavement. But should I train on only flat surfaces during my recovery?
—Mimi Hart, Cedar Rapids, IA
The meniscus is the padding that lies in your knee between your femur and tibia. It disperses the impact when you run or walk, and lessens the friction of knee movement. It can be damaged in several ways; a meniscus tear usually accompanies an MCL or ACL tear. For runners an inappropriate training load—too many miles too fast—can be the culprit.
Meniscus tears usually present as catching, popping or general pain in the knee. The meniscus receives very little blood flow, and won’t heal without surgery. So if you’ve been dealing with this injury for more than six months without improvement, see a specialist.
During recovery, says U.S. Ski Team physician and orthopedic surgeon Mark D. Scholl, “I prefer the variety that running hills and trails provide over a flat workout. Flat roads tend to keep a runner at the same cadence and stride, loading and stressing the same tissues without spreading the work.”