Saturday, October 10, 2015

Runner's Trots

In different countries, runners have long expressed the ups and downs they would experience while running. Bill Rodgers, the former American record holder and USA Track and Field Hall of Famer, once said, "More marathons are won or lost in the porta-lets." This is because 60% of distance runners experience stomach or bowel distress during a run - whether it is an actual race or training - with the percentage increasing with longer distances. This is what's called the "Runner's Trots."

This can be caused by several factors, the most common of which is the intake of food and liquids even a day before the run. However, this does not mean that you'll be able to avoid a bathroom break just by correcting your meals and adjusting your morning routine, because the actual run may also cause mechanical trauma, peristalsis or ischemia.

  • Mechanical trauma is caused by the simple jostling of the substances toward the exit due to the up and down motion of running
  • When engaging in active sports, our bodies produce an enzyme that speeds up peristalsis (muscle contractions in the digestive tract) and transit time of fecal content in the intestine
  • Lastly, when running, the blood that normally goes to the intestines is diverted to the working muscles, which sometimes result to unwanted bathroom visits

Runner's trots can hit you anytime but the good news is - this can be avoided by doing some adjustments -
  1. Be vigilant about the food you eat (ie limit high fiber food intake)
  2. Be aware of your bowel habits
  3. Practice the amount of fluids you drink during training to improve your comfort with fluids in your stomach and avoid dehydration
  4. Take Diatabs 1 hour before your race/training to prevent bowel movement during your run

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