This is a very common problem for runners; in fact 25% of runners suffer from a really strong urge to do number two, when they are out running. Running is great for the bowels, as is most exercise, it can keep you regular and statistics show that runners have a decreased incidence of colon cancer, but on the other side of the pendulum, it can be frustrating, painful, and embarrassing.
Often it’s just more than wanting to do a poo, it can cause stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, to the embarrassment of farting with every step you take, and worse still not being sure if something is following that fart!
Runner’s trots can be due to diet, dehydration, nerves, supplements, running at the wrong time of the day or just bad habits.
Diet- don’t eat before you run, if you need something just take sips of drink. Make sure you are not eating rich, spicy foods or high fibre foods the day before you run.
Dehydration- drink plenty the days leading up to your run, not on the morning of your run. Warm drinks can also bring the Runners Trots on and caffeine, so cut out the early morning coffee, have one afterwards.
Supplements-Check the ingredients in any sports drinks or supplements you are taking, magnesium is great but it can go straight through you, so try to avoid the drinks with levels of magnesium
Nervous energy- try to relax, don’t rush in the morning. Get up an hour earlier before you run so you can get ready and have time to go to the toilet if need be. Start off slowly and don’t talk yourself into needing to go to the loo. Distraction can be a great sure for lots of problems in running.
Regularity- having regular bowel habits is great and a healthy way to be, but if you are clashing your toilet duties with your running, then something has to give! As above get up a bit earlier, deal with one so you are ready for the other. I suggest you let the bowel be in charge, you can run anywhere at anytime, but it’s not so easy to poo anywhere at anytime!
Try all of the above. However, don’t just assume that it is runners trots, any problems with your bowels should be checked out by a doctor. Run where you know you can get to a toilet. If in a race, which is often where it can be worse, don’t hesitate to take an over the counter anti diarrhoea medication (Imodium) before you run. It will not hurt and they do work on the day.