1

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How can I avoid the runner's trots?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 26, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Runners World says "There are only two types of runners, those that have shit in a bush and those that will shit in a bush." I fully understand that shitting in bushes is probably about as Paleo as you can get, but I'm running my first Half-Marathon in 3 weeks, and I could well do without joining the club in front of 50,000 other runners.

What worries me about the Half-Marathon is the length of time that'll take me to complete it - I'll be on the road for about 2.5 hours, with the possibility of an extra 1 hour in the start-pen before the race.

Tim Noakes MD says in the Lore of Running "eat only highly refined, low-bulk carbohydrate foods that leave little residue (white bread, cookies, sweets, rice, potatoes) in the 16 to 24 hours before the race."

Unfortunately, as a T2 diabetic, highly-refined carbohydrate foods are completely off my menu, and the sudden ingestion of any of these things is likely to have me "doing a Radcliffe" in a matter of seconds.

I usually run fasted, so I'm planning to skip breakfast, and stuff myself full of non-Paleo Imodium (Loperamide), and run with some toilet paper in my pocket in case the worst happens.

I'm pretty much too worried to eat anything during the race, and am currently wondering how much I should eat the day before (which will probably negatively impact my performance).

Anyone have any other tips?


UPDATE

Thanks to all your advice (plus an industrial sized dose of Imodium), I completed my half-marathon in 2hrs24:36 (plus an hour to cross the start line, and 3 hours to get back to the hotel) without shitting myself.

Thanks!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 27, 2012
at 02:06 PM

This awesome through and through. I'm heavily inspired by Phinney and Volek - and I just finished reading Scott Jurek's book about ultra-running and diet. I'm not surprised, but it's great to see it confirmed.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 26, 2012
at 07:17 PM

my own personal theory is that after 3 miles your metabolism shifts and you start burning more fat and that's why your stomach clenches. But I am NO expert. I do find that if I've had a BM at home after a cup of coffee and a couple glasses of water in the morning and I run fasted, I'm usually fine. WOW is all I can say for that number of runners. That's crazy!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:13 PM

I didn't know that - thanks. The version of "the Lore of Running" that I have is pretty progressive on the whole "fat loading" thing. It's an excellent book, I dip into it all the time.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:10 PM

I managed my first 13 miles this week - but I had to use the toilet after about 4 miles, which in part is what has prompted my concern. I agree that if I'm going to have any problems it'll be evident in the first 3 miles.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:06 PM

There will be 55,000 runners - and as a 2.5 hour man I'll be in the back pen. Apparently it takes 45 mins to hit the start line after the gun.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:04 PM

I'll make sure that I knock back a couple of coffees!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:03 PM

It's the Great North Run - which apparently is the second largest HM in the world (although that's probably not a good thing).

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on August 26, 2012
at 04:24 PM

I'm no marathon runner, but yes, if you seem to not be able to go beforehand, a cup of coffee should definitely help move things along!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:43 PM

Yes - several times, but usually on training runs when I could literally limp home. I've done 38k races, and two 10k races in the past 12 months without problem.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:41 PM

Curious if you've ever had them before. I'm certainly no long distance runner, but I've never experienced any desire to go while running.

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7 Answers

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2
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 26, 2012
at 03:21 PM

I agree with Judi - eat normally the day before, run fasted like you usually do and you'll probably be fine. Don't take energy drink or any food at the aid stations - just water - or your stomach might rebel. You're probably fat-adapted from all that fasted running, so you won't need anything for a race like this. I assume you have run this long in training? how did that (those) runs go?

I often have to make pit stops in training, and I find it's usually after I've eaten earlier during the day, and it happens typically at about 3 miles into a run. I have routes where I know there are bathrooms that I can pop into so I don't have to do the bushes. I've run a lot of longer races lately and haven't had to go in any of them. The only one I had issues with I ate too much beforehand.

Just a question - Why would you have to stay in the pen for 1 hour before the start? that's a long time!

Good luck!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:10 PM

I managed my first 13 miles this week - but I had to use the toilet after about 4 miles, which in part is what has prompted my concern. I agree that if I'm going to have any problems it'll be evident in the first 3 miles.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:06 PM

There will be 55,000 runners - and as a 2.5 hour man I'll be in the back pen. Apparently it takes 45 mins to hit the start line after the gun.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on August 26, 2012
at 07:17 PM

my own personal theory is that after 3 miles your metabolism shifts and you start burning more fat and that's why your stomach clenches. But I am NO expert. I do find that if I've had a BM at home after a cup of coffee and a couple glasses of water in the morning and I run fasted, I'm usually fine. WOW is all I can say for that number of runners. That's crazy!

2
Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:49 PM

I've found in the half marathons I've run, the trots have been worse than on training runs, partly due to the early start, excitement, nerves, etc. Practice getting up and running at the same time of day that your run will be at. A 4AM start definitely screwed me over once because I had more coffee than usual, and hence a post-coffee toilet trip...

I wouldn't worry too much though. Big organised runs will have portaloos along the side. The London Marathon had them every half mile or so it felt.

1
149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

on August 27, 2012
at 02:58 AM

Check out this podvcast with Dr .Steve Phinney...they go over this.http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2012/08/11/western-states-100-low-carber-wins-ultramarathon-steve-phinney-and-jeff-volek-study/

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 27, 2012
at 02:06 PM

This awesome through and through. I'm heavily inspired by Phinney and Volek - and I just finished reading Scott Jurek's book about ultra-running and diet. I'm not surprised, but it's great to see it confirmed.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 26, 2012
at 06:50 PM

Can't help with the bush problem, I have no shame. noakes has changed his opinion on sweets and refined carbs per race. I go for bananas and coconut water

1
B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on August 26, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Tim Noakes now supports low-carb and has changed his views on carbohydrates completely.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:13 PM

I didn't know that - thanks. The version of "the Lore of Running" that I have is pretty progressive on the whole "fat loading" thing. It's an excellent book, I dip into it all the time.

1
E17fe88b98575c183241fba50ae42b93

(398)

on August 26, 2012
at 03:28 PM

Good luck on your first half marathon! I agree with Judi...definitely go before you leave your house/hotel. One less thing to worry about when you're at the start line! I don't have much to offer in the way of nutrition, but I do notice that when I shorten my stride (get tired), it's more bounce than forward momentum. Doesn't feel good. I guess it's allll the food I ate in the last 18+ hours, just bouncing around in my intestines. I can usually feel the trots coming on, but if I lengthen my stride before it gets too bad, I'm usually ok. Hopefully that helps.

One thing about gydle's comment, if you do only do water during the race, maybe take a salt packet with you in case you start feeling iffy. You'll be losing quite a bit through sweat!

Have a great race!! :)

1
2c7026111493687e2d619c9e20e47915

(693)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:58 PM

I find as long as I go before the race, I'm fine, but I also have noticed porta-pots on my (2) HM courses. My best tips would be eat normal/healthy, go before you go (coffee helps me) and don't worry too much about it. Worrying about it can't help. Where's your race? Good luck!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:04 PM

I'll make sure that I knock back a couple of coffees!

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on August 26, 2012
at 05:03 PM

It's the Great North Run - which apparently is the second largest HM in the world (although that's probably not a good thing).

1955b5516a3eaedce732f4ea8bb3fa6c

on August 26, 2012
at 04:24 PM

I'm no marathon runner, but yes, if you seem to not be able to go beforehand, a cup of coffee should definitely help move things along!

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