Friday, July 12, 2013

Running with the Runs

Whatever the cause, be it nerves, strong coffee or the left-over beans you had for lunch, many runners from novice to professionals are sometimes faced with the urge to have to use the bathroom during a run. Running jostles internal organs and increases body temperature which sometimes intensifies the necessity having to empty the bowels.

One of the luxuries of running on trails and back-roads.

Needless to say, this is an unpleasant and uncomfortable inconvenience. However, there are a couple of preparations you can do to help prevent this occurrence:

1. Avoid foods that pass through the system quickly and foods that are high in fiber before a run. This means giving ample time to digest after your morning bowl of shredded wheat or skipping the salad at lunch before your evening run.

2. Drink a cup of tea (or coffee if it's a reasonable time of day) to help stimulate your bowls before a run. The caffeine content can help move things along, especially first thing in the morning. Even drinking water can start the gastrocolic reflex, a function that is triggered when you eat or drink something. The reflex works to make more room in the stomach by increasing movement in the GI tract and causing the urge to defecate after a meal.

"No hablo Ingles?"
3. Sometimes you just have to go- and that's okay! If you think you are not going to make it through a run, carry some tissues or napkins with you just in case. If you are on the roads, convenience stores become that much more convenient. Don’t worry about getting the stink eye from an employee when you skulk in and out without buying something.


Potty problems is just another unique characteristic of running. Though never fun at the time, they sure make for a great survival story later on.

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