Eating on the Run and Keeping the Gut in Check

As promised in the previous Running and Eating…Eating and Running here is a follow up on eating while running. I may be busted right now, but I’m still capable of reflection!

I started out running on empty. I lived in fear of eating while I ran. I didn’t want to upset the beast that seemed to live in my stomach.  I’d dutifully get up before the sun rose, drink a bottle of water and hit the streets.  I proudly proclaimed my ability to run on empty up to a half marathon distance to anyone who would listen, secretly wondering how I could learn to run in a group without fearing the poop monster would chase me into hiding.


This too became a game of trials with many errors along the way.  I first tried fruit snacks because that was what we had in the cupboard.  Within 15 minutes it was an emergency.  I thought all hope was lost.

I gave it another go with jelly beans with the same failed result. Failures occurred with other sugary snacks as well as sports drinks. Was I doomed to be an empty stomach runner? A runner with no endurance? A runner who had to hit the bushes every 5 miles?


I hit the interwebs and read proclamations of gels and GU’s and Honey Stingers and bought every single one.  One by one each caused distress. I got samples at races, and tried them at races and had to hit the porta potty with cramps.  It had to be just me. Everyone else was walking around with a belt full of this stuff.


I began to fear products in wrappers and looked to eating before the run. I landed on the plain bagel. I ran without problem. I nearly cried.

I added peanut butter. I still had no problem.

My confidence was growing.

I ate a Clif Bar.  Fail. Larabar. Fail. Powerbar. Fail.

Am I broken?

I still needed food for during the run.

I had one gel I hadn’t tried yet. The Powerbar Vanilla Powergel.  I ate it 40 minutes into my run.  I mapped out the bathrooms and kept them near.   I didn’t need them.  It had to be a fluke. All the other Powerbar Gels had failed me.


I got up the next morning had a bagel with peanut butter and ran.  30 minutes later I had a vanilla gel. I kept running for another hour.  My dear stomach was welcoming this concoction.

This means that I ran on this exact food source for some time until I boldly attempted a cinnamon raisin bagel.  I’m happy to report that this wild move caused no distress or shock to my system.


Recently I started experimenting again and have eaten salted potatoes (no issues), pretzels (no issues), M&Ms (major issues), honey grahams (issues), bananas (issues), watermelon (no issues), oranges (no issues) and Sports Beans (major issues).

I also purchased Tailwind which has become my main source of fuel while running. I drink Tailwind now on every run as it causes no distress in my fragile GI tract and then toss back PB&J on plain white bread as wanted and seem to have found the perfect system for me.


There you have it; I gave you my weak spot. It’s my intestines.  If any of you out there have a gut like mine, I bow to you as I know that the search for the perfect food is an ultra-race itself and it takes an awful lot of crap to get there.



8 thoughts on “Eating on the Run and Keeping the Gut in Check

  1. Pingback: Running and eating…eating and running. | nolongernakedrunning

  2. I love these posts because they show that there is no secret it is simply just trial and error, that each person is different and what works for you yes is worth trying but it might not work, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost!

    • I so agree! At first I thought it was just me as I tried what others used and had horrible failures. It took time to figure out that we all have to march (er, run) to our own drummer.
      It’s great to take suggestions and try them out, but move on to the next if it doesn’t work!

  3. What kind of GI issues do you have? I have candida and a leaky gut, and my digestive system is bananas. I am training for a half marathon so I’ve been loving reading your posts about this! It seems like anything with sugar bothers you, which makes perfect sense with it being a GI issue. I’m sooo glad you found what worked for you!!! I’m going to look into the power gel you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

    • Have you been using probiotics for the leaky gut?

      Refined sugars will really bother that. Something like Tailwind (don’t worry I’m not a rep or ambassador) may work well for you if you don’t mind ditching the solids all together. They sell little bags so you can try it out. That’s what I bought before I went all in for it. I use the plain flavor- it taste mildly sweet with a hint of salty flavor. Really pleasant. For one bottle (16 oz) of water I use 2 heaping scoops. That is enough for about 10-15 miles for me if I just drink it as I would water. It’s calories and all the elecrolytes you need. No refined sugars so it doesn’t kill the sensitive tums.
      I got the gels on Amazon figuring I could pawn them off on friends if they didn’t work. I think most sporting stores sell them also?
      Somebody who commented mentioned baby food in those squeeze packets so you might want to try those also. I haven’t tried them, but have had people tell me to try both those and the squeeze apple sauce. I’d read the label and try one at a time. If it sends you running to the porta potty within 20-40 minutes, ditch it!
      GOOD LUCK and check back with what works. I’m always on the lookout for more food options 🙂

      • Awesome thank you so much!! Yes I do take probiotics. I have one that has 50 billion in a capsule and then another one that has another probiotic (just lesser amount). I don’t have issues like IBS or needing to run to the bathroom or anything like that.. but I get everything else lol. Constipation, bloating, unable to absorb nutrients, weight gain, acne, hives, nausea, and so on. However, I haven’t tried running long distances while having the candida, so this is really good to know!! I will definitely keep you updated, and I look forward to following your progress, as well!! Thanks again! 🙂

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