Real Talk: Running and Poo

Real Talk with BrittanyBefore I was a runner the thought of someone knowing I was taking a poo was mortifying!?? I would hold it in all day until I could poo in the comfort of my own bathroom.?? If only Poopouri existed back then!?? I would still have had to worry about the plop-plop sound but at least it would have smelled like lemon potpourri!?? My inability to poop in public didn’t help my GI??issues and caused major cramping at times but my problems were eventually cured with running!

I remember the first time I had to poop while running: I was on the YMCA treadmill (which normally I despise, but I think it was raining that day).?? I was going for my longest run of 5 miles.?? Around mile 3.5 I had to poo!?? Well, I did what I always did and clenched more tightly????? no way was I going to poop at the Y and I certainly wasn’t going to give up on my first 5 mile run!

Somehow, I managed to finish my run and I hurried home. ??Holding it in while exercising caused me to cramp and have pains I never imagined and it took forever for the situation to… resolve itself.?? The pain lasted two days and I swore I would never hold it in again.?? Looking back, I was so lucky I didn’t end up??like this guy!?? I would never have been able to go back to my beloved Y!

Running and poo: don't end up like this guy. Gravy Leg isn't good for anyone.
Don’t end up like this guy.

Since that fateful day I have embraced pooping and can even have a jolly conversation about the joys of pooping!?? I choose training routes that have porta potties along the way. I’ve even stopped in a Walgreen’s to blow up their bathroom!

Porta potties: a runner's best friend.
Porta potties: a runner’s best friend.

Here are some key things to remember about running and poo:

Can???t PR without a PRP!

Do what you can to make sure you clear your bowels??before a race because you can???t PR without a PRP (pre-race-poop)! ??Just the sight of a porta potty at a race makes me have to go. Besides, everyone is doing it, so don???t feel bad. But whatever you do ??? don???t look in the hole!?? No need to vomit, too.

You can't PR without a PRP

Bring some TP with you!??

I saw this piece of advice before my first full marathon and thought that was dumb because there is usually toilet paper in the porta potties. I learned the hard way that??when you are slow, by the time you get to a porta potty later in the race, the TP has long since run out. Thankfully, I only had to pee, but if I had to poo, my only option would have been??to use my shirt, and NO ONE wants to see that!

Never Trust a Fart!??

We have all seen the signs and it makes us laugh BUT it is also a serious PSA!?? Proceed with extreme caution!?? Release a little at a time and make sure it isn???t going to release actual poop!

Running and poo: never trust a fart.


Walk it out!??

If you feel like you have to poo and there isn’t a potty or tree around, walk!?? Don???t run!?? Walking allows me to hold it in and the cramping to cease.?? I will walk a few minutes and then test the running again.?? If the urgency doesn’t come back then I continue to run at an easy pace but if it does I start walking again to the nearest bathroom ??? remember, you don’t want to end up??like this guy!

Don't be this guy.

To decrease your chances of poop issues during a run make sure you are well-hydrated and don???t eat right before your run.?? Also reduce foods high in fiber in the 24-hours??before a run and NEVER take Metamucil before a run!

Brittany Brown

About Author:

Brittany Brown, a.k.a. Queen B, is a Certified Zumba Instructor, has completed multiple marathons, countless half marathons and the Dopey Challenge. She's also slightly crazy. You'll often find her yelling for no particular reason and then running off with maniacal laughter.

10 thoughts on “Real Talk: Running and Poo

  1. Awesome advice. Even though I have run over 5 marathons and I don’t even know how many half marathons now I get freaked out when I can’t go before my race! It happened to me in Chicago this weekend but thankfully I didn’t look like that guy!!!! Seriously man how could he keep running?!

  2. I never leave for any race/long-run without hand sanitizer and a handful of individually-prewrapped Dude Wipes or One-Wipe Charlies. Living with UC, the urge to “strike” can happen any moment, any time, any reason. I sense I’ve shared too much…

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