Last Updated on November 21, 2011 by Jimson Lee
After writing 1243 posts since May 2007, there is one topic I haven’t addressed.
That is, having a case of diarrhea (or the “runs”) just before they call your race. This isn’t a funny topic to address, as it happened to me just before a 400 meter race back in Vancouver.
The strange part is I don’t get as nervous before a 100 or 200… only the 400m, also known as “the killer event”. I had to run to the toilet (literally), which was located by the 100m start line, and I got back to the 400m start line in less than 5 minutes. And it wasn’t caused by excessive baking soda supplementation, in case you were wondering.
Usually it’s stress. Sometimes, food can be the culprit. That’s why when I travel, I try to eat the same foods, and in my case, it’s the classic club sandwich on white bread (chicken, mayo and lettuce on one side, and bacon & tomatoes on the other side of a 3 decker sandwich). But don’t eat a Cheesecake Factory Club Sandwich!
The lesson is: You CAN control your nerves before a big race by deep breathing, and I covered it in this past article.
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS), the best advice is keep a food diary of everything you eat and drink, and do 3 things:
Sometimes too much caffeine from 20 oz. venti supersized Starbucks coffee can trigger a case of diarrhea. Or you can always blame food poisoning like MJ at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Food and IBS
Diet is an important part of the treatment for irritable bowel syndrome so Canadian gastroenterologist Dr. Maitreyi Raman has written "The Complete IBS Health and Diet Guide" and, along with other dietitians, has created a “foodmap” that lists what to eat and what to avoid. The book also offers more than 100 recipes that meet nutritional standards for IBS patients, including some recipes for vegetarians and vegans.
Among restricted foods HIGH on the Foodmap are apples, fruit juices, broccoli, onions, honey and corn syrup and cow’s milk.
Alternative LOW Foodmap foods include bananas, berries, oranges, tomatoes, small amounts of wheat products, maple syrup, almond milk, lactose-free milk and soy milk. And you wonder why I like pancakes with pure Quebec or Vermont maple syrup?
Fiber and Gassy Foods
Another good tip to prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome is to avoid food with too much insoluble fiber, or food that cause a lot of gas such as beans and cabbage. Chinese Egg-Rolls are high in cabbage by the way!
There are other types of fibers and myths surrounding fibers and the book covers that too.
For example, if you cook vegetables like asparagus by steaming, boiling or baking, it reduces the amount of insoluble fiber so they are safe.
As I mentioned earlier, you just have to open your mouth wide and test, test, and test.
The Complete IBS Health and Diet Guide: Includes Nutrition Information, Meal Plans and Over 100 Recipes for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Markham Lee says
So my Dad gave me a couple of things, a sharp analytical mind, an dry and sarcastic sense of humor, a tendency to be organized…..
…he also gave an astigmatism and borderline IBS symptoms. Luckily I don’t really have the disease, but I will have “some” symptoms if I don’t avoid certain foods.
I wish he gave me his distance runner’s lungs to go along with the sprinters legs I got from my Mom, but that’s another discussion.
Anyway, thought I’d throw my 0.02 in…..
1) Controlling your stress is HUGE, just the slightest thing can throw you off and you’ll uh, retain some extra waste for a few days.
Other kind of stress can cause you go though, I reduce my fiber intake before races or intervals because for whatever reason I’ll wind up going 2-3x before I leave the house.
2) The best advice is TEST, TEST, TEST and TEST some more, because it’s not just specific foods it’s combination of foods and WHEN you eat them. Broccoli in the evening with dinner, a probiotic and rice = good, Broccoli with lunch = bad.
That being said you really have to test things because just because a food is listed as safe doesn’t mean it will work for you.
E.g. Bananas are listed as safe but I can only eat them sparingly, Fruit juice is listed as high and it doesn’t cause me a lick of problems.
Either way, it’s worth it I think for anyone who has ever issues with regularity to investigate the way IBS suffers manage their symptoms with diet.
3) Going back to one just accept it goes back and forth and try not to stress about it. I’d also think you should just research and test to discover the foods that are the most innocuous for you as far as not causing any issues. That way you have a “cleanse diet” you can go back to if you’re having issues.
im a highschool student down in north jersey, currently 17 and in 11th grade, and i almost ALWAYS experience IBS! i mostly get it during the winter season at the indoor venues, but i have my fair share during the outdoors. god is it annoying and embarrassing when you’re with your team and they see you run to the bathroom multiple times!
Jimson Lee says
@Jared – I know we are not alone on this topic. The short sprinters would hide in the bathroom before the 4x400m so the coach wouldn’t find them!
Hiding short-sprinters reminds me of a story….
….in HS our 4 x 400 had a crew of five guys that ran most of the races (change the line-up based on injuries, or what races people were doing, etc), we were the #1 ranked in the area all season.
But 3 of the five guys were injured at the state qualifying meet, so myself an the other healthy athlete were running around trying to find the “hiding short-sprinters”, who had sudden injuries when we found them.
So we wound up going with athletes who were actually keen to run instead, got 2nd by maybe a 0.10….
….the short sprinters felt pretty silly for hiding after that, if just one of them had run we would’ve won easy.
Short sprinters can be wimps sometimes.
Hence the reason I really respect the fact that Tyson Gay and Bolt run 400s, unlike Carl Lewis’ infamous 46-47.
Jimson Lee says
other surprise 4x400m relay performances include a huge John Regis (“Mr Traps” who ran 200m) and Allan Johnson (110mH).