Gut Health and Running: 5 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut and How to Fix It
Updated: Jun 28
What did I do wrong?
I was sure I could run a sub 2-hour marathon. I had trained so hard. I had worked so hard. But I finished 3 minutes too late. And my stomach was cramping incredibly bad.
That night, I found myself in a running group on facebook and told the group what happened and asked for advice. So many people wrote back about taking Imodium or pepto bismol before every long.
That was the catalyst for me. I knew there had to be a better way. I knew my body was made to run and I didn't need medicine to be able to do it strong.
From that point, I jumped in to learn how gut health and running were related. I read books (The Mind-Gut Connection, The Athlete’s Gut, and Roar are some of my favorites), became a RRCA certified running coach, partnered with BeachBody for strength training, and took nutrition courses.
Not only did I figure out how to crush that sub 2-hour half marathon, but I learned how to fuel my body, I learned how to strength train to improve my running. I learned how to be stronger, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
5 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut in Runners
1. That middle of the run sprint to the bathroom/porta-potty/tree…#iykyk occasionally, it's normal. If it's happening on all long runs, or more than 50% of your runs, time to fix something
2. Tired. All the time. Middle of the afternoon energy crash, snooze a few times before waking up. Guzzling all the coffee. Recovery from a long or hard run taking days.
3. Not losing weight even though it feels like your nutrition and workouts are under control.
4. Cravings. Enough said.
5. Bloating, gas, irregular bowel movements.
3 Ways to Improve Gut Health in Runners
To fix it, it’s a combination of 3 things:
Identify your triggers. Pay attention to what you’re eating and when and keep track of how it makes you feel.
Add more water. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. That means they’re living every day in a state of dehydration, which means headaches, constipation, irregular bowel movements, you get the picture!
Aim for 30 plants a week. To maintain a healthy gut biome - that balance of prebiotics and probiotics and keep your immune system healthy, the goal is 30 different plants a week. So count ‘em up. How many are you eating? – Stay tuned for a post on how to incorporate all 30!
The Solution: The Gut Protocol
The 4 Week Gut Protocol is a nutrition program created to encourage overall gut health. Through the process of eliminating foods that most often cause gastric distress & observing how your body reacts, you may be able to identify & remove troublesome foods for you.
When you do the Gut Protocol, you will be provided with step by step instructional videos from Autumn Calabrese that show you:
Exactly what to eat
How to remove 7 typically triggering foods and replace them with other foods
How to isolate potentially problematic foods
You also get weekly tips, food lists and recipes.
Why Gut Protocol is perfect for runners
When you’re fueled better, you perform better, recover faster, and feel better. Figuring out the foods that trigger GI distress and being able to mostly eliminate them, is a game changer.
70% of your immune system is based in your gut. Which also means that when your gut is healthy, you’re less likely to get sick and have to deal with the seasonal colds that sideline training.
Gut Protocol Testimonials
Want to join Gut Protocol and Fix GI Distress for Runners?
When you join the group, I have a runner specific guide for the Gut Protocol and you’ll get support from me along the way, from specifics on how to adjust training, to fueling long runs without a ton of extra processed sugars, to adjusting to less caffeine.
Fill out this form and I’ll get you all the details!