Ladies (& Lady-lovers) – it’s officially winter! With proper layering, riding, running, and being active outside are all amazing this time of year.
Yesterday while out on a midday neighborhood run, I experienced so much: patterned sunshine through urban canopies, refreshingly chilled air, the schmooshing of remaining wet leaves beneath my feet, sweaters and cardigans, lovely scarved Ladies on two-wheels, whiffs of wood ablaze in home hearths, breezes crinkling yet-to-be-shed leaves… a mid-run stop and crouch and subsequent nearly-pooped-myself shame…
Yes, Ladies, my run failed to elicit the normal sunshine and rainbows joy I’ve come to expect.
Following my near disaster (saved by a stray Honey Bucket), I came home to do some research. Was my addiction to peanut butter catching up with me? Were my insides falling apart? DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP COFFEE?!
The results from my google query were sadly hilarious, my favorite of which was –
Gut suddenly feels like it’s flipping upside down? Nauseated and cramping? Mad rush for a Honey Bucket? Turns out I’m not alone – around 35%* of runners will experience some sort of GI distress during training or events. Those port-a-potty lines I’ve been caught in during marathons reinforce the commonality of my issues – running can mess with your gut, and now I had a name for it.
“Runner’s Trots” – a concept I wish I was less familiar with, afflicts short and long distance runners alike. Not quite the ass-bleeding severity of runner’s colitis, runner’s trots is general GI distress (cramps, nausea, intense urge to go, loose stool, etc.) that can arise from alterations in stimuli and hormones caused by running. The issue can be sporadic or regular, but whether it’s a consistent problem or not, it’s non bueno.
So how does a Lady avoid the shame of mid-marathon or triathlon soiled trousers? The following are the best suggestions I’ve found:
1) STAY HYDRATED – drink plenty before you start, and don’t forget to sip along the route.
2) KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL – for me, my peanut butter based food pyramid is likely to blame. Keeping track of what you eat and how you feel before and during each run can help you pinpoint problem foods.
3) TRAIN AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF DAY – normal fluctuations in hormones can effect your gut. If iffy mornings have instilled a fear of public pooping embarrassment, give evenings a try, and vice versa.
4) WATCH YOUR FIBER INTAKE – too much of a good thing can make you poop yourself. Watch for raw food, sugar, and fiber overload before runs.
5) DON’T EAT FOR AT LEAST 4 HOURS BEFORE A RUN – nothing for your system to process = nothing to worry about.
6) RELAX (BUT NOT TOO MUCH…) – IT’LL LIKELY GO AWAY – runner’s trots can be random, but the more you run, the more your body adjusts. The problem generally gets better or disappears.
Have you experienced the joys of runner’s trots? If so, what are your tips for reducing symptoms?
Keep running, riding, and finding humor in the shittiest moments, Ladies!
*Note: Internet statistics – like wikipedia “facts”, you might not want to quote them in a research paper.