…if milk upsets your digestion!
First of all, thanks to everyone for all your wonderful yogurt suggestions! If you missed my Chobani discovery, check it out here.
Two readers, Molly and Maggie, asked me about a comment I made in the post – that I’d avoided dairy during much of my race training – and they wanted to know why. To clarify, I didn’t abstain completely from dairy. However, I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older that I’m more sensitive to dairy products. Thankfully, I don’t feel sick when I eat dairy. But the Huz can attest to the noisy stomach situations that have ensued after a hearty bowl of alfredo or scoop of ice cream.
When I started training to break two hours for a half marathon in 2007, I took a very serious look at my diet. I noticed that I felt the (ahem) GI distress much more when I really pushed my pace. Probably something to do with the added strain on my intestines due to the increased exertion level. I also started to hone in on my perfect pre-run dinner and pre-run breakfast. Over time, and after much experimentation, I found that I really had no choice but to eliminate dairy from my life for at least 24 hours before a long run. Even though I was very sad to skip the parmesan cheese that should have been piled atop my pre-run whole wheat penne with fresh pomodoro sauce and grilled chicken, the sacrifice paid off – I beat my time goal with several minutes to spare – 1:52:53!
This year, I started adjusting my diet with much thanks to the blog world. I starting reducing meat intake, drinking green monsters, and even got a juicer for my birthday from my handsome Huz. I also reduced my dairy intake along the way, adding almond milk to my monsters, a splash of soy milk in my tea, etc. I found that doing this basically guaranteed I would have long runs free of GI distress (which is pretty huge if you’re running in through Harlem and need to….).
Now that I’m done with my training for the year, I’m bringing dairy back into my diet but I’m not going overboard. If I want it, I have it. If I have a tasty alternative, I’ll likely enjoy that instead. I still haven’t found a soy cheese or other non-dairy alternative that gives me the satisfaction and enjoyment a tasty hunk of Brie does, but I’m always open to new options.
Please don’t take my word as gospel as far as the dairy/running/GI distress issue goes. For some people, fiber is the kicker. Others can’t have meat or oil. Finding the perfect fuel for your running is, unfortunately, not an exact science. But the good news is that your body is a wonderful laboratory and hopefully you’ve got many years of long, short and in-between runs that will provide many opportunities for experimentation.