Sh*t (Shouldn’t) Hap­pen!


Runner's World South Africa - - FRONT PAGE - BY MEGHAN KITA

NTHERE’S SOME­THING ABOUT RUN­NING that turns even the classi­est among us into shame­less beasts who’ll do what­ever it takes to be com­fort­able and com­pet­i­tive. While blow­ing snot rock­ets and re­liev­ing your­self outdoors may seem un­think­able in street clothes, do­ing so in a sin­glet and split shorts seems to give us all per­mis­sion. Be pre­pared for the next time your run takes a turn for the un­civilised with these tips from Run­ner’s World How to Make Your­self Poop + 999 Other Tips All Run­ners Should Know.

Make Your­self Poop

If there’s one thing all run­ners can re­late to, it’s the need to do your busi­ness be­fore you get down to busi­ness on the road. First, try drink­ing a warm liq­uid, such as cof­fee, tea, or hot wa­ter, to get things mov­ing. Stud­ies have found that nor­mal and de­caf cof­fee have the same pooin­duc­ing ef­fect. Choose your favourite hot bev­er­age and drink it at least 30 min­utes be­fore go time. If your pre-run Vida E doesn’t do the trick, per­form your warmup near a bath­room. Mo­tion can bring on a bowel move­ment, as any­one who’s needed a potty break just min­utes into a run can at­test. An added bonus: warm­ing up pre-run en­livens your mus­cles and gets your heart pump­ing. Try a dy­namic warm-up rou­tine be­fore leav­ing home – with moves such as jump­ing jacks, walk­ing lunges, and skips – or just jog around the block un­til you’re ready to do what you need to. When all else

fails, you can try putting gen­tle pres­sure on your per­ineum, the area be­tween your gen­i­tals and your anus. A 2014 study from UCLA found this may help ease con­sti­pa­tion.

Pee Dis­creetly

Be­fore a run, most men can hy­drate, caf­feinate, then uri­nate with reck­less aban­don, be­cause male anatomy makes it easy to re­lieve one­self al­most any­where quickly and dis­creetly. Fe­male anatomy, how­ever, isn’t so ac­com­mo­dat­ing. To make it eas­ier to pee when there’s no potty (porta- or oth­er­wise), fol­low this easy, two-step process.

First, you want to dress for suc­cess. In tights or capris, there’s no way to wee with­out drop­ping trou. Shorts are a bet­ter op­tion. Short com­pres­sion shorts as well as the built-in briefs un­der­neath bag­gier shorts can be shifted aside. The best bet, how­ever, is a run­ning skirt, one with built-in briefs or a brief­less op­tion paired with bun­hug­gers. You can eas­ily pull briefs aside be­neath the skirt, and the two-piece op­tion al­lows you to re­move the briefs en­tirely. Black is the smartest colour choice be­cause it hides splashes well and matches ev­ery­thing.

Once you’ve found some pri­vacy, take a knee. Lower down on your right knee, with your right foot be­hind you and your left leg bent at a 90-de­gree an­gle in front of you. Take the fab­ric of the right side of your shorts in your hands with one in front of you and one be­hind you, and shift it to­ward your left leg. This should cre­ate enough space to let it flow. Kneel­ing just in front of a tree of­fers ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion – passersby might sim­ply think you’re lung­ing. Here is where it’s im­por­tant to note that pub­lic uri­na­tion is of­fi­cially il­le­gal and could even land you on the sex of­fender registry, so whiz at your own risk.

Avoid Post-Run Hurl­ing

While no­body en­joys puk­ing, some run­ners think do­ing it af­ter a hard work­out or race is proof that you re­ally gave your all. Those run­ners are al­most al­ways wrong. Sprint­ing and then spew­ing is usu­ally caused at least in part by your food and drink choices. If you make the fol­low­ing changes and you still hurl, con­grats – you re­ally are push­ing un­til you puke.

Eat, then wait. Heavy breath­ing can cre­ate pres­sure in your abdominal cav­ity. If your stom­ach is fairly full pre-run, that’s a recipe for dis­as­ter. Try hav­ing your pre-run meal or snack fur­ther in ad­vance – two to three hours is usu­ally safe.

Prac­tise fu­elling slowly. When you run, your body di­verts blood away from your di­ges­tive sys­tem and to­wards your work­ing mus­cles. This ef­fect in­creases as you run harder, and it’s more pro­nounced in the heat. If you eat or drink too much be­fore, dur­ing, or af­ter a hard ef­fort, you’ll chun­der. When you’re go­ing long enough to need mid-run fuel, have a small sip of sports drink or gel fol­lowed by a small sip of wa­ter, wait, and re­peat. If you need to take in solid foods, have small bites and wash them down with wa­ter.

Hy­drate well. De­hy­dra­tion also slows di­ges­tion, so tak­ing sips of wa­ter through­out a hard ef­fort re­duces your nau­sea risk.

Skip puke-in­duc­ing foods. Any­thing acidic, such as cit­rus fruits or juices, as well as any­thing high in fat, fi­bre, or pro­tein, can slow di­ges­tion. Stick to mostly bland, sim­ple carbs pre-run.

Get ahead. An hour be­fore a hard run, tak­ing antacids or Imod­ium might tamp down the urge to purge.

Keep Mov­ing. Slow­ing to a walk or stop­ping en­tirely af­ter run­ning re­ally hard can star­tle your stom­ach. In­stead, keep jog­ging.

Stop Poo Be­fore the Race

No-one wants to use the por­taloos along a race route, but the clock stops for no-one – and for no num­ber two, ei­ther. The pot­ties are there for the un­for­tu­nate souls who didn’t learn how to pre­vent a poo-tas­tro­phe – or how to stop one in its tracks. In­stead of just pray­ing your poo will go away, watch what you eat and drink in the days be­fore. Even the com­mon strat­egy of carbo-load­ing can spell in­testi­nal dis­as­ter if you eat the wrong things. (And for some peo­ple, pasta – be­lieve it or not – may be a ‘wrong thing’.) You might be able to de­ter­mine your gut trig­gers in train­ing, but if you’ve missed that win­dow, avoid the com­mon cul­prits of dairy prod­ucts, ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, soya, eggs, caf­feine and gluten, just to be safe. Also limit your in­take of foods high in fat and fi­bre.

Watch­ing how much you eat can also help. It’s sim­ple: more food in equals more poo out. Carbo-load­ing doesn’t mean eat­ing more kilo­joules; it means get­ting a greater pro­por­tion of your kilo­joules from car­bo­hy­drates. You should leave meals the day be­fore the race feel­ing sated but not stuffed.

If you’re anx­ious on race day, skip the morn­ing cof­fee. Even if it’s usu­ally okay in train­ing, it can en­rage a ner­vous stom­ach. When you must have morn­ing caf­feine to func­tion, have a caf­feinated gel or two pre­race; that for­mat is eas­ier on your in­nards. Then work on calm­ing down. Deep breath­ing or lis­ten­ing to re­lax­ing mu­sic pre-race can help limit the lax­a­tive ef­fects of adrenaline. Look­ing at a course map and know­ing ex­actly where the por­taloos are might soothe your mind enough that you won’t have to use them.

Dur­ing the race, stick with the slow fuel plan men­tioned ear­lier. Hav­ing small sips of gel or sports drink (fol­lowed by wa­ter) on the course can en­sure you don’t overex­cite your di­ges­tive sys­tem or swal­low air that can cause gas and bloat­ing. In des­per­ate times, reach for an­tidiar­rhoeal med­i­ca­tions – if you’ve tried them in train­ing. Start with a half or quar­ter dose, and avoid tak­ing so much that you’re con­sti­pated post-run.



Ex­cerpted from Run­ner’s World How to Make Your­self Poop by Meghan Kita. Pub­lished by Ro­dale Books, an im­print of Crown Pub­lish­ing Group, a divi­sion of Pen­guin Ran­dom House LLC.

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