How to Prevent Runners Trots

Runners trots are most embarrassing and runners often do not want to talk about such a troublesome problem, myself included. Runners trots are also known as runner's diarrhea or the sudden urgent need for a bowel movement while running. The problem is that it could happen suddenly and it can happen miles from home when there is no dignified option. 

Runner's Trots

It has happened to me on numerous occasions. I like to refer to it as: "Being like a bear" because what do bears do? They go in the woods and this is an option that I have chosen many times! Public toilets are the best option if our running route includes one but unfortunately that is often not the case and we are forced to find an alternative solution. Actually, having woods to go in, is not a bad option as it is private unless of course you get caught, but let's not think about that. 

What we want to think about are solutions to avoid this uncomfortable situation in the first place. I would like to make this article a place for sharing solutions, funny stories or anything else about the experience of having to poop while running that would be helpful in finding solutions or at least to know that we are not alone in our suffering with this dreadful,  gastro problem. 

Available information about this gastro intestinal (GI) issue indicates that there is a high percentage of runners who experience this inconvenience quite often. The physical jostling of our organs may be a contributing factor as well a decrease of blood flow to our gut as a result of the increased blood flow to our muscles that occurs when we are running.  The longer and harder we run, the more likelihood of us experiencing some form of GI distress.

Can We Prevent Runners Trots?

There are a number of things we can do that may help prevent or reduce the occurrence of this unfortunate affliction. 

  1. Do a quick check to make sure that your clothes or fuel best are not tight and putting pressure on your midsection as this may aggravate your bowels. 
  2. Do not eat anything for 1-2 hours before running.
  3. Make sure you are well hydrated as dehydration can cause diarrhea. 
  4. Avoid the following foods before running: dairy (if you are sensitive to it), caffeine, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, high fiber foods and foods high in fat.

It is worth noting that many sports gels contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives which can aggravate your digestive system. Please check the ingredients or try the healthier option of natural race fuel

Also, try not to stress about it. This may be difficult I know, but try to calm yourself by thinking about all the positive aspects of running and trust that no matter what happens, you will be ok. Worrying about it will only increase the probability of a loose bowel and having to 'be like a bear'! 

Have You Found a Solution to Runners Trots?

So how do you deal with the trots? Have you found a method that works well for you or do you have a funny or awkward story to tell? The funniest runners trot story that I heard was about a guy who had no option but to hop into a dumpster!! Let's try to avoid that happening to us and help each other with our suggestions.  

I recently read that dried pineapple is good for our digestive system so it may help prevent the trots. I will test it out and update the results here.

Update: Before I had a chance to test dried pineapple, I was advised not to try it as pineapple is a natural laxative and I certainly don't think I need that!

However, I have also heard that many people have found that coconut macaroons have helped. These specific brands were mentioned: Trader Joe’s and Archway.  Has anyone tried these?

Runner's Trots Comments

Please feel free to share anything that may help others or share a funny story of how you dealt with the sudden urge to "be like a bear" while running.

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Empty out before running! 
I often have a problem with needing to go particularly on morning runs and it is quite a nuisance. I try to ensure I completely empty out before running. …

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