Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling the Need, the Need to......

Post contributed by Anna Boom

Pooh, or poo-poo or worse, poopoopoo.

Oh yes, a lovely topic for any womens running group to discuss. 

No need to feel ashamed or embarrassed by our natural movements, bowels included. Every runner whether woman, man or beast, has the need to go at some point during a run. I will go back to the book I often turn to for guidance, Everyone Poops. You eat, you poop. 

Often when we start training for a longer run, say a half marathon or marathon distance, there comes a time when your body will tell you it is time to go! and it doesn't mean run faster. If you choose to ignore the issue, your body has two choices; force you to walk and eventually stop with cramps or let it go, forcing you to throw your shorts away when you get home. Either way, you can't ignore it for very long. Although we have all tried.

Why does this happen? All the up and down motion and jostling for longer stretches of time and distance, get your body ready to dump and lighten the load. It is a great way to help you run faster and feel lighter. And don't you feel better afterward?

Can you train to avoid this? Here are some ways to train like you want to run:
1) Drink warm coffee. Coffee is a diuretic that helps getting everything moving down and out.
2) Wake up an hour earlier, or more, before you run out the door. Give your body the time to adjust from sleep to wake to ready to run.
3) Run in the morning before you've eaten more food and added to the load.
4) Avoid eating too much fiber before your run. Yes, fiber is essential to a healthy diet, but consider how much you eat in relation to when you plan on running.
5) Drink lots of water the night before your long run and when you wake up.
6) Avoid eating too spicy of food. Probably don't need to add to this.

An additional helpful trick is to plan your run to pass by the many convenience stores Okinawa has to offer. The toilets are clean and have t.p. and a place to wash your hands with soap and freshen up your 'do. Also, remember you will never see those people inside the Family Mart, ever again.  

Some people say, you are not a runner until you have the runs on the run. Whether you have joined our club or not (oh yes, I belong! My latest membership was renewed at the 82 Km mark of the Mongolia 100 Km Ultra), feel no embarrassment in what happens to each of us.

I have spent much time trying to convince my 5 year old that it is okay to just let go; I hope this helps other shy poopers out there to go when you feel the need.


  1. I hope other women find this helpful!

  2. I was just talking about this very subject for the start of last Saturday's WOOT run w/ someone who is new to the group. We were talking about how EARLY we wake up before a long run... and I just threw it out there - I get up early so I can go poop before I leave the house! This usually causes lots of snickers but it's the truth! I'd rather leave late for a run b/c I was on the pot than get stuck prairie doggin' it on a run!