Friday, August 16, 2013

Poopy Pants

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

CheapRunnerMichelle started the week off with a post about 'Party Pants' and I'm ending the week with 'Poopy Pants'…how's that for some blogging alliteration symmetry!

I have been running for almost a year and a half now, and up until this past month, my stomach has been rock solid.  I've heard of all kinds of runners that suffer from "GI" issues (as they so politely put it), but I never had a problem.

A few weeks ago something strange happened…I was out on my run and my stomach started gurgling.  While I considered it odd, I thought little of it and kept going.  I hadn't done anything different than before…same pre run snacks, nothing crazy to eat the night before, etc…but there was the gurgling nonetheless.  I had a few more runs and the stomach issues would come and go, with some runs being great and gurgle-free, while other runs featured my bowels trying to tie themselves in knots.

On my last run of July, it happened.  I finally had to give in to my stomach's desperate pleas and find some relief. While the public bathroom I found wasn't perfect…

…at least I didn't end up like this poor guy


Since that July run, I have had to stop numerous times for a shit pit stop…it has become epidemic!  Time of day doesn't seem to matter too much as it has happened during both mid-day runs and afternoon runs.  Nothing has changed with my diet and  I'm not drinking anymore coffee before I run than I used to.  I tried changing up my pre-run snacks a bit, from my reliable Clif Bar to a Luna Bar, but that didn't help (and I think the extra estrogen in the Luna Bar made me moody)…I'm finding that a plain ol' banana is the best thing for me now.

I've done a bit of research on the issue and found a couple of articles that are willing to tackle the issue…one thing they both said was that upwards of 80% of runners have experienced gastrointestinal disturbances while out running.  The advice they give is to have a cup of coffee (or something of the like) that gets your bowels working so that you can have a good poop before your run.  I have tried to do this and it has worked with mixed success…it is certainly better than nothing.

One good thing I discovered while investigating the Running Trots was that us runners that make mad dashes for the toilet are actually at much lower risk of developing colon cancer…so remember that next time your pinching one off in a dingy public washroom (or the trees at the side of the path for that matter).

So it really seems to be a fine line we runners dance once we have become victims of Runezuma's Revenge, one that is defined mostly by what we eat and drink.  Make sure you are avoiding high-fibre foods before you head out as well as the day before if possible…tougher to do if you run daily, as you don't want to cut fibre out entirely.  Just be smart and avoid those trouble foods…chances are you already know what yours are.  For me, it is cheese.  Man do I love cheese…but let's just say that while it has a certain effect on people, it has the exact opposite effect on me.  You can also give in and plan your routes around public washrooms, or if you're lucky maybe you can convince this guy to be your running buddy…

Toilet Run logo-1024x0

Sorry, I know this is a crappy subject to write about…and it stinks that we have to deal with these problems…but the next time you have a Code Brown emergency at least you will know that you're not alone!

Now for what is sure to be the least-answered 'bottom of the blog' question ever…

Share your pooping on the run story!

Keep it clean folks, and enjoy your weekend!


  1. My best success to avoid the runners shits is to drink coffee right when waking up and giving it at least 30 minutes, throw some anxiety in the mix, and 19 runs out of 20, I'm good. I try to not get super high fiber foods, at least in the evening or late afternoon.

    I think every couple few weeks now I blog about at least one horrible runners trot, and have only had one bathroom open so far!

    It is good to know we aren't alone. It is often the first couple miles topic with my running buddy- we ask each other if we feel okay, gut etc, so we know if we need to find a bathroom or be ready for a quick stop.

  2. Giselle@myhealthyhappyhomeAugust 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    I've had this happen. NOT the guy in the picture but the sudden need for a restroom while on a long run. Once I had to find three different outhouses on an 11 mile run. Thank goodness there was a lot of construction going on in that area and they were the newer, cleaner versions but it was still horrible! Coffee before always helps :-)

  3. AHHH! I have been dealing with stomach /GI issues lately too. IDK what is causing it, but it's so annoying! I had to stop 3 times in 7 miles on Wednesday! Such bullshit!

    Hopefully things get sorted out soon!

  4. Ya I've read about your struggles! I have coffee before every run and clean the pipes, but still having issues crap...ERRR...crop up on the run. At least the toilets aren't locked up anymore by the time I head out.

  5. I've only had to stop once so far, haven't had to deal with a multi-stop run yet. You know you're in a tough spot when port-a-potties are looking good!

  6. It really sucks doesn't it...3 times in 7 miles is awful! The funny thing is that my long runs are fine...20 miles, no problem. 6 to 8 mile runs...uh oh, look out!

  7. Ugh - that picture of the runner covered in shit about sent me over the edge!!!
    I'm pretty fortunate after all these years of running (over 20!) that has never happened to me during a run. It is not uncommon for my stomach to be off the rest of the day when I do long runs.
    I did read earlier this summer that getting dehydrated during a run actually makes GI issues worse. Good luck with that - hopefully you want end up with any pictures like that poor runner you felt the need to show us!!!

  8. The coffee trick has worked well for me except when I lived in Guam. The races there start so early(6 am or even earlier) that it wouldn't fail that I would have to go on the way to the race or as soon as I got there. Some races didn't have ideal lavatories to us. That picture is so nasty,lol! I would find a tree or bush before I let that happen.

  9. Dude, you have me laughing so hard! I really enjoy your writing. I actually have the opposite problem due to good ole IBS but I do experience heartburn sometimes. I hope you find what works for you soon. Mid run shit er pit stops don't sound like a party.

  10. I am SO happy you shared this! I have been having irregular running issues lately, and I was becoming a bit concerned! I haven't changed ANYTHING in my diet. I'm a bit confused. I already drink coffee, so should I use this as an excuse to drink more? :) Anyway, thank goodness the bathrooms are only a jog away... for the most part. This certainly was not a "crappy" topic. I loved it!! Happy weekend!

  11. Thanks J! Heartburn wouldn't be very pleasant on a run either, ouch...and ya, the those pit shit stops are no party. I can only imagine what the next guy to use the stall thinks about the pool of sweat on the floor!

  12. The pre-race toilet line is bad enough, can't imagine queuing for substandard facilities! I'm sure the early start time was appreciated in Guam...

  13. There's no such thing as a bad excuse to drink (more) coffee! Glad my post spoke to you; we all deal with these problems and it helps to know you aren't alone. Us runners have no shame...I don't think there are any topics too taboo for us!