Do you always have the urge to go to toilet for “big business” before you run, or while you are running or after you finish running? If you are, you are not alone. Some other runners have the same issue too, including one of my friends. My friend called it “pre-run poop”, but the official name is Runner’s Diarrhea. Normally, this urge of going to toilet happens mostly to marathon runners, but also can happen during long gym workouts and occasional runs. Initially, I thought he was nervous of jogging for the first time. But, after several weeks, he still has the same issue. In fact, once, he had to run so fast to get to the nearest toilet and he told me that it is the fastest run in his life!
The real cause of runner’s diarrhea is not known. Some say it is due to lack of blood flow to the bowel. Some believe that the up and down movement of the body running may have stimulated bowel activity. Another theory is that running has increased the speed which food passes through your stomach. However, many agree that the problem is due to what you eat and what you drink, which I believe too.
So, how to reduce or prevent runner’s diarrhea. Here are some of the tips shared by the runners from net:
- Have a journal to write down everything you eat, amount and time along with the start and end times of your workout, and when the diarrhea starts. Then, you can try replacing those food or adjusting the time before your workout to see if it makes a difference.
- You may need to control the intake of high fiber and gas producing foods including beans, fruits, and salad.
- Limit caffeinedrinks like coffee or tea. Caffeine stimulates the bowel.
- Sugar free candies (Aspartame) or gum is known to stimulate the bowel too. So, avoid it too before you run.
- Try not to eat at least two hours before running. If you are taking big meals, you may need to wait even longer to run.
- Drink enough fluids before and after you run. Dehydration may lead to diarrhea. But, avoid warm liquids because they speed food through the digestive tract.
- If you take energy bar or drink, you may need to replace one brand with another because some of the ingredients may not work for you. Pay attention to the sugar contents.
- Try natural food rather than packaged food if you really need to eat. For instance, switch to banana instead of relying energy gels to see it it helps.
- Wear loose fitting clothing. Water bottle holders or clothing that is too tight around the waist may increase diarrhea.
- Before your workout, go to the bathroom first.
- Try training at different times especially if the morning running tends to cause the urge to go to toilet. If you typically hit the rest room first thing in the morning, then running at that hour may not be the best choice.
- Reduce the intensity or distance of your runs until diarrhea improves. Then, slowly increase your activity as signs and symptoms allow.
- Design your running route to include restrooms along the journey.
- In worse case, consider a medical check up.
Unless you are running for a race, I do not recommend the use of anti-diarrhea product like Imodium. I rather you to try the above tips than relying on Imodium every time you run.
Seeing my friend to go to toilet that often is no fun. He may have given up exercising because of that. For him, by cutting down his regular daily coffee sessions, he has made much progress. I suggest you to do experimentation and trial to identify which culprit that causes you that problem. Make porta-potties a thing of your past. Good luck.
Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles
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