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.



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