This might be a bit up close and personal for a newly set up blog but I think it’s important to talk about your experiences both good and bad, especially if it makes other people feel better or break the ice.
Last week I went to my usual Nike Run Club. I joined the 9:30 minute mile 10km group as I wanted to get some miles in but take it easy as I had a half marathon on Sunday. The run is going really well and it’s my favourite route along the River Thames. If you are lucky enough to live in London or even visit I cannot recommend enough running over the river and back again, especially at night it’s just magical. So I am 8km in and my tummy strikes. I have never needed to go so badly when running, I literally froze on the spot. Thankfully we are about to run through Piccadilly Circus so I make a dash for the nearest Costa Coffee abandoning the group (sorry)….
Now this has never really happened to me before which is why I wanted to write this blog. This way I could find out why this might happen, when it’s likely to happen and what we can do to try and prevent it and share it with you all. So far a lot of what I’m reading attributes this to long runs but 10km doesn’t seem to fall under this category 🙂
Why do we get the runs? This is debatable and unfortunately different for each individual. On race day it might be purely down to race day nerves and stress. Running as a whole especially long distance running is jarring to the body and can be quite traumatic to the gestational tract hence the need to go. Below are just a couple of areas bar the running itself that might contribute:
Dehydration – not enough to water throughout the day or the days leading up to a run can be a cause especially if the weather is hot. Always drink lots of water.
Diet – there’s that saying “we are what we eat” so on the lead up to race day try to avoid foods high in fibre and fat and move to the more naturally constipated foods like pasta, rice and bananas. Dried fruit and berries are also recognised as one of the culprits in diarrhoea. Keeping that in mind please ensure you keep on eating and do not avoid foods altogether because of the fear of the pitstop, you need fuel to get going.
Tip – keep a journal of your food and bowel movements to see if there is any pattern in what you’ve eaten and when you need to go when running. This can also help to eliminate certain foods if you think that is the cause.
When is it likely to happen? As I previously mentioned most of what I’ve read talks about this happening to long distance runners and I wouldn’t call myself a long distance runner. However in the simplest terms the gut starts to shut down after a lot of exertion. Lots of exercise directs blood flow away from the intestines to your muscles which contributes to speeding up those bowel movements.
How can we prevent it from happening?
- Try to go before you run
- Avoid eating 2-3 hours before you run
- Limit caffeine intake before a run
- Keep hydrated and sip water whilst running rather than gulping
- Stay away from those high fibre/fat foods
If you do feel like you seriously suffer from the above please go and talk to your doctor as this is my advice only and not medical advice.