Running a marathon is serious business, which is why most competitive runners have an unflagging game face. (After all, any extra effort—like that needed to muster up a smile—might zap important energy stores!) But it’s hard not to grin when you get a look at the ridiculous signs held by fans, many of which refer to the gross things that can happen during long distance runs. All those banners about diarrhea and going number 2 while running down a crowded street? Well, they’re funny because they’re true.
However, stomach cramps, sprints to the port-potties, and worse don’t actually need to be a part of your marathon plan, according to Colette Heimowitz, MS, VP of Nutrition and Education at Atkins.
“Carb loading for cardio endurance can help you have energy, but it has side-effects,” says Heimowitz. “You have to take in so many carbs right before an event that runners get so many to intestinal upsets.” Even worse, she says, most runners who rely on carbs for their energy tap their stores well before end.
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