Now that Run The Night is just a few weeks away, we asked our community of supporters to give us their top tips for running with Crohn's and Colitis! Here is what they said...
You know your body - listen to it!
I have Crohn’s and an ileostomy and run up to half marathon distance. The best advice is to listen to your body... if you’re tired, either rest or maybe go out on the bike and cross train. If you have a stoma bag, you may want to tape under it or get a towelling back cover because if the edge rubs it’s very sore!
Keep your cool
Since my surgery, I’ve fallen in love with running - so many years when I couldn’t leave the house even to go to the shop, now I’m hitting trails and getting lost and training for my first ultra marathon. The main thing is not to panic at the start line - sometimes due to nerves and lack of sleep, my bag goes mad! Always remember that while you might not want to, you can stop running and go to the loo. Every day is different - don’t push too hard but enjoy every minute.
Be kind to yourself
I started running after a big flare up 9 years ago to make the most of the times when I was feeling okay. Since then, I've done 25 marathons all over the world and achieved times and results I would never have dreamed possible when I started. My main advice is to start slow and don't put pressure on yourself. Enjoy the journey and see where it takes you!
Don't hesitate to hydrate
Crohn’s does mean I have to do things a bit differently from my athlete friends who don’t have IBD. I take a large dose of loperamide (with my gastro’s agreement) before races and I tend to have very little to eat before (usually a Cliff bar as they agree with me). I keep well hydrated during a race and use SIS gels, as I get on well with them.
Experiment and explore
I am doing my fourth marathon next month and have run plenty of 10ks and half marathons. Experiment with food, find what’s right for you - everyone is different.
Keep it simple
1. Remember you're not a pro and nobody is expecting you to be.
2. Keep it simple and pragmatic; maybe one long run and one tempo run.
3. Enjoy it and keep focused on why you're doing it
Try routine but expect change
I just follow my everyday routine - change anything and I’d be all over the place, bowels and legs. Usual breakfast before a race, leaving plenty of time to relax and ‘log out’ beforehand. Locating the portaloos on arrival is always a top tip.
Accept that training runs and races won't always go to plan - sometimes you need to pause your tracker and find a pit stop, and sometimes you need to abandon a run completely. Currently training for a half marathon next Sunday - fingers crossed no pits stops.
I've traveled solo with Crohn's to run 5 different marathons in European countries. Here are some tips:
1. Music - get yourself some anthems! These can be guilty pleasures such as Celine Dion.
2. Have mantras and quotes to tell yourself, and break the race up into segments in your head as every step gets you closer to the finish.
3. Look at the crowds, make eye contact when someone is smiling at you and cheering you on. Remind yourself that you are going to be so proud when you finish as it's not just a marathon but a marathon whilst running with an invisible illness.
Whether you're going solo or running with a group, we want you to have fun at Run the Night!
Check out our Spotify playlist made to motivate you...ready, set, GLOW!
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