Does running make you suddenly need a poo? Do you get diarrhea during your running races? Are you suffering from runners trots? Have you “gone Paula Radcliffe“?
Well, you’re not alone, surveys have found that far more than half (one even citing 83%) of runners have suffered at least one gastrointestinal problem during their time running. So – what causes this and what can be done to prevent it?
- Problems like these appear to be far more likely to occur with running than other exercise such as cycling or swimming, so it appears that the issue is at least in part caused by the impact on the ground and how that moves your intestines around.
- Blood flow is directed out of the intestines and into the working muscles – this loss of blood in the intestines causes problems with permeability of the gut, which can result in diarrhea.
- Dehydration is the third problem – runners who had lost more weight through sweat were more likely to have gut problems
How to prevent runners trots
- Before your race, try to empty your bowels…try very light exercise if you aren’t able to do this.
- Get into a routine before the event. You should try going through your morning routine, wake up at the same time, eat the same food, go to the toilet at the same time. This will help you feel “normal” on the day of the event.
- Avoid “sugar free” food which contain sorbitol – this can cause diarrhea.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything that you have not eaten or drunk during training.
- Stay hydrated. Obviously you want to do this anyway!
- You can try Salt Stick tablets – I’ve been recommended these as a solution to both runners trots and cramps, although I have never taken them myself.
- Finally – it will improve with more training and you should find that you slowly get better. If you’re finding this a real problem you should consult your doctor.