Potty Talk for Runners
Everybody poops but for most people over the age of eight it’s not part of normal conversation. As a personal trainer though, you’d be surprised just how many questions I’ve been asked about all sorts of bathroom-related issues. Since I’m currently training for a marathon today’s blog post is going to focus on potty questions specific to running.
Does Running Make you Poop?
It can and here’s why. When you run your stomach jostles around while can alter your mucosal permeability, meaning your stool gets softened in your GI track. Also, when you are running the blood flow moves away from your intestines and towards your muscles to help oxygenate them, which can cause cramps and the urge to go. And let’s not forget race day stress.If you have GI issues to begin with this can make matters worse. Ugh!
What Can I Do To Help Stop This?
- Eat 2-3 hours before you run. When you eat your intestines want to make room for more food. Eating a few hours before your run means you get a change to empty your bowels in the comfort of your own home.
- Avoid certain foods. Ever heard of protein farts? Let’s not go there on long runs. Stick to something like old fashioned oatmeal. Stay way from tons of fiber before the run. (After the run is fine. Let’s hear it for post-run veggies!)
- Avoid sugary drinks. Some people find that sugar (like the ones found in energy drinks) can make them go. Typically I like to mix my Gatorade with equal parts water to cut down the sugar.
- Get it out before the race. Caffeine and a warm up jog around the neighborhood is a good way to get things moving before you get going on the marathon.
- Walk. If you feel stomach cramps or a questionable fart when you’re running, just slow down and walk to a bathroom. You don’t want an unfortunate surprise.
- Find the restroom locations. Usually they give you a map of the race route in your marathon check-in packet and it lists things like which miles they have water stops and which miles have port-a-potties. If it’s not on the map, ask someone who works with the race. If you know that after mile 3 there’s not another restroom stop until mile 12 it makes sense to try to make s*** happen at mile 3.
- Bring a few tissues or some toilet paper with you. Depending on the size of the race, if 30,000 people are running, chances are the toilet paper will get used up pretty fast. It’s always good to be prepared. It also comes in helpful if, hypothetically, you have to make an emergency trip behind a bush.
Knowledge is power. I hope you are finding these marathon training posts useful, especially if you ever thought about running a half or marathon yourself, or 5 or 10k for that matter!
I am running a half marathon to raise money for medical expenses for my friend’s son, JJ, who was in a horrific car crash before Thanksgiving and is paralyzed from the neck down.
Any amount you give goes towards his physical therapy and medical expenses so he can lead a productive life.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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