100 Mile races and stomach issues 10

The stomach seems to be one of the toughest challenges during a 100 mile run. Runners generally have stomach issues during the longer races, this takes practice to keep the proper balance of water and salt in the system. Runners tend to intake in to much sugar from those energy drinks and  eat to many different foods.

I was pacing John Maack from the Wasatch Running Center for the 2007 Wasatch 100, John called me after about 30 miles complaining about stomach, I thought I would never see him at mile 75 if he was already having problems. I told John to start drinking a lot of water to rinse his stomach of the acid build up. In addition I told him to take one e-cap every half hour to hour until he started to get some relief. John was concerned about food and I told him to eat one or two gu’s an hour with water. In addition I told John to limit what he eats and stick to the boiled potatoes and stay away from the acidly foods! John was full of concerns at this point of the race, he stuck with my recommendations and showed up at mile 75 to finish the race!
John contacted Endurance Planet for some further coaching on his stomach, check out the response on this video!


Any advice please leave a comment!

Wasatch Speed Goat


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10 thoughts on “100 Mile races and stomach issues

  • olga

    Funny (no, not really), that’s exactly what I practice and recommend. Stop drinking any caloric drinks for an hour or two, lay on ice-cold water and have a gel and an S cap. The calories lost (not consumed) are better option than the rest of the calories never processed (what happened to me at WS in 2006, duh! what was I thinking?) Great point, goat!

  • jill

    I wish I had this advice when I was throwing up at mile 4 of the Lean Horse 100 (hands swollen, sick as a dog–don’t know why). It took me until mile 40 to get right. What helped me was finally eating some saltine crackers at mile 30 and drinking water. Shot bloks, my normal staple, made me ill.

  • Bruce C

    I have considerable experience with stomach problems while running long distances. It is true that water is the best treatment once stomach problems start. However, depending on how much electrolyte and carbohydrate is already in your stomach, you may or may not be able to tolerate gel or an S cap. I’ve definitely had occasions when additional gel or electrolyte made the problem worse.

    The best thing is to avoid the problem in the first place. For me the most effective way to do that is to take a 20 mg Pepcid AC (or generic equivalent) an hour before starting and every 10-12 hours thereafter. (BTW I do not ever need Pepcid AC when I’m not running, and heartburn has never been one of my symptoms when I’ve had stomach problems while running.) Stomach distress is a stress response, and the stomach doesn’t know or care whether the stress is mental or physical. H2 blockers (including Pepcid AC) work by blocking the stomach stress response.

  • mike v.

    Hey goats – an East Coaster here (Maryland), wonder if I can hop in on your stomach issues thread? If I know I have a tendency to hit stomach issues on long runs, would you recommend starting out with water, S caps, and gel–and not messing with sports drink at all? I am having a go at my first 50 miler this Saturday at the JFK 50. Stomach can give me troubles on long runs, and seems like there is generally Gatorade involved in some way. Appreciate any feedback. And keep up the great stuff.

  • WSG Post author

    Hi Mike,

    Yea, the sugars in the cheap sports drinks like Gatorade can really mess with your stomach. I always have one bottle with water and one bottle with diluted sports drink. that is a safe approach with the e-caps and a gu every hour can get you through a 50 miler. If you need to eats stay away from the acid foods and try to stick the potatoes or peanut butter, it all depends on your stomach.

    It took me several races to learn what my stomach can and can’t handle!

    Good luck at JFK= Scott we will look for your results, have fun!

  • CharlieM

    This is a no brainer. Skip the gatorade and coke and chips, and stick with proven products like S caps, Clip 2 and gels. That is, unless you’re going slow (20 min pace, etc.) and out there to enjoy yourself, then you can stop and snack all you want.

  • KellyK

    Great tips!

    Anything over 50 mile, and I’m guaranteed to puke at least once. I think the hardest part of endurance sports thus far for me has been race nutrition. Every race I’ve done, I’ve suffered quite a bit because of stomach issues. If I eat gels, I puke from the taste. If I eat solid food, they won’t digest. Typically, I’ll puke around mid-day. It’ll take me an hour or two to re-consume, but ultimately I’m back and usually feeling really good. I don’t like to eat when I workout. A good friend of mine said, “there are two types of athletes – eaters and starvers.” I have always considered myself the latter. I love to chow on food, but during races my stomach contorts and convulses at the meer sight.

  • Markus

    for me usually Bretzels and Coke works.
    Coke is usually my faforite running drink in the late stages of any longer Ultras.

    As a prevention I would recommend that you do not mixup to many different foods and drinks at once. When I have stomack problems I usually try not to eat and drink something for a while. Especially at night.

    Anyway it is always a individual solution.
    And never forget: The good thing in an ultrarace is, that you have enough time to get over difficulties. Just keep moving even if its slow for this very moment.