DO NOT search Medline about this!!
I have just found some horrible case reports about marathon runners and gut problems.
One article tells me that 13% of runners experience faecal incontinence when running, and 47% have to stop for a number two
So Im not alone
But theres no advice as to how to stop it, and the most up to date article seems to be 1998


  • I found it was down to what I was eating. Not so much diet but what I had in the few hours prior to going out. I always run home from work, and I always tend to set off at around the same time. I noticed that I sometimes had problems so I started thinking about what caused it. I noticed that if someone had a birthday at work, it was tradition to buy cakes in the afternoon. If I had a cake then I was in trouble on the way home. I have to admit that I still sometimes have a cake - I just run home faster so that I arrive before nature takes its course !!
  • The current thinking on other threads seems to be to cut out diary products, not been that successful for me - seemed OK at first, wonder how much was in the mind.

    I just have to do a loop around home before I go on a training run - pop home and then off again - but if not, I use imodium

  • Tonight my run was ruined with stomach cramps etc.. (I'm not going into detail).
    3 miles if I turn back or 5 if I keep going .. I am so glad I turned back .. had to walk quite a bit to let tummy settle..
    I had been eating mints ... these tend to have a bad effect .. maybe next time I should remind myself of the obvious.
    Normally I would not take immodium as people tend to speak ill of having to wait a week !!! (information from another thread on old forum) but try the cheaper varieties .. I use safeways own ... work for a few hours.. which is really what all I need.
  • Mine too, Daisy. Well, not ruined, but got uncomfortable at about 2.5 miles (just beyond Tesco pit-stop opportunity) and still convinced enough when I reached the pub that is my 5-mile pit-stop opportunity to go. It was a phantom poo, but I felt so much better for the rest of my run.

    Carbing up pre-run with a wholemeal roll and a very ripe mango probably didn't help, although my gut transit time is usually more than an hour.

    Ruth, you good girl, using Medline for your research on this topic! The statistic is really that seven out of eight runners can safely wear pale-coloured shorts without elasticated legs.
  • Ten miutes only this am before I had to return home
    And thats without eating anything!!
    Wait till i talk to me gastro mates, you never know, some poor sod might have had to do an MD in this
    Now theres an idea--
  • I found the cheaper alternatives not so good as imodium - if I find imodium 'too effective' I go out for one of my short runs of a loop around home fast, seems to work.

  • immodium followed by prunes works well too!
  • Coffee is a major culprit. Also the amount of time elapsed between eating and running. I find that if I eat my breakfast (bowl of Frosties with skimmed milk, mug of decaffeinated coffee and glass of orange juice) two hours before I run, I can usually get away without problems. But you have to experiment. I tried running on an empty stomach, but that was disastrous. so try eating a light meal that suits your metabolism a couple of hours before you run, and see how it goes. Good luck.
  • Thanks, still need to catch one of my gastro mates to see if they can help
    Trouble is , most of them are strangers to exercise and think Im mad
    Can only run on empty ti=ummy in am, no time
    but doesnt stop trotskies!!
    think Ill do 2 part runs(sorry) as previosly suggested, I cant live on Immodium!!
  • excuse the need to to be graphic but my midweek runs of up to an hour take place at 6.30am. My body is trained (!) to evacuate before I run so that helps and I usually need to go again on my return. Long weekend runs for me are impossible without immodium plus. I take them after the necessary evacuation and I've never had a problem during a run and usually things are back to normal within 12/24 hours. I don't believe I'm sharing this stuff with strangers!!
  • What do you do If youve been at 6 am and then need to go again
    This does not happen if Im not running!!
  • this has only happened once (thankfully) and I was grateful that a public loo was available. Normally the early morning one does the job till I finish the run. If it didn't, I don't know how I'd deal with it - I suppose I'd have to consider the immodium as a more frequent option.
  • ive obviously got odd guts then !
    i always thought they were well trained until i started running
    I mean it doesnt get in the way of a 48 hour shift
  • Have always found that, once I had manage to settle the stomach properly, changes to routine were the issue. I still can't work out all of the changes that are bad, but there are things that were always helpful:

    Trying to "go" before you run - in training for FLM this year, most running was at 6.30-8 am and there was never trouble if I'd paid a proper visit prior to heading off out of the door.

    Trying to avoid coffee or tea prior to the run (or, if during the day, paying attention to how many cups I'd really had, which could number rather a few on a cold day) - these were definitely a source of discomfort.

    Trying not to make massive changes to the main meal of the day. Breakfast was always fairly stable in style - cereal based (flakes of something or bread derivative) and lunch too (sandwiches of sorts). Issues came around dinner if, say, I'd done a meat and veg regularly, a change to pizza would set the internal washing machine stomach feeling going short distances into any subsequent run (extending to the next day). My stomach appeared happy bouncing familiar stuff round for a run, but would want to be rid of anything unfamiliar.

    ...still took Immodium twice (cranleigh 21 and FLM)...just in case...
  • OK - so here's an alternative theory - what if it's your body's way of getting rid of excess carbohydrates which you don't need - because you've already got too much of them stored as glycogen in your muscles ? See my latest problems on General - Sean Fishpool's HR thread - for more detail - but I'm pretty sure I've been suffering from carbo-hydrate overloading - which can be fatal...
  • Oh no!! no more crisps??
  • No, crisps regularly!
  • But theyre carbs

    Another forumcrisps addict?
  • Crisps are fat and salt.

    But peanuts are protein and tortilla chips and twiglets are carbs.

    I've been kind of watching the cramp-and-trot situation because whether or not I have any bother seems to be fairly random and not related to what I've eaten or when I last "went". The last few episodes have definitely been on runs after bad days at work. I wonder whether they're just a variation on the stress-related IBS which I occasionally get. My weekend runs are always pitstop-free.
  • I have a fairly repetitive vegetarian diet and have yet to spot what things trigger off the trots. I only take immodium plus for races of half marathon and longer. What worked at London this year and New Forest this weekend was two I+ with breakfast and then another - to be sure - just before the race. As to being bunged up for a week, erm on Sunday I was functioning correctly again by about 3pm (an hourand a half after the end of my race), just as well I took the extra. On training runs, you just need to know where the public loos, friendly pubs and petrol stations, thick bushes are..... or be prepared to walk the rest of the way home.
  • Benz - I sympathise with you - I had been fighting the RTs for the last two years or so, makes me think twice about doing another marathon due to the high amount of training. I have way overcoming the problem, mainly by running for about 10 minutes before I start a training run, which is often in the company of others, and particulary if I am not going past a pub, otherwise, if I am running in the evening I go out for 10 minutes in the morning to try and sort things out.

    Have tried all sorts of diets, tried cutting our dairy products, at first it seemed to work and then.......I now wonder how much is in the mind.

    If you find a cure, please let me know

  • Thanx whizzy ,Im working on it
  • There was a section in this months RW (could have been last month) about RTs. This thread has covered most of the advice given in the magazine - dairy products, immodium etc.

    I play a lot of football and find that my body tells me half an hour before that it's time to go. This is what another health magazine has to say on the subject.

    "To prepare for the big match your body dilates its muscles to give your veins and arteries more space so that extra blood and adrenalin can get through," says John Brewer from Lilleshall Sports Injury Centre.
    This also has the side effect of loosening your anal sphincter muscle, explaining the sudden attraction of the white porcelain.
    But this has its advantages.
    "Everybody knows the light feeling they get after emptying their bowels, and losing a couple of pounds really shows on the field," John says.
    Another thing to bear in mind when you exercise is that your heart, brain and muscles attract the lion's share of your blood, so if you still have some undigested matter in your intestine, it can lead to stomach aches and cramps.
    "Try to avoid protein and fat rich meals the night before a big match to give your bowels a break," John says.

    Perhaps you need to actually think about going for a run an hour or so before you go. That way your body will start preparing itself for it.

    The way I deal with it is to plan all my routes via McDonalds. God bless McDonalds toilets (although some of them aren't particularly godly)
  • Yep - as I have said elsewhere, I go out for about 10minutes from home before going out on a longer run - usually works - neighbours probably think I am mad - but what's new!!!

  • Taking immodium or anything else does seem a bit extreme to me.
    I do not go for a run unles I have been beforehand (within the last 4 hours). On race days my nerves seem to get me going anyway so that is OK.
    Sometimes I will go for a warm-up of 5-10 mins as other people have suggested and then back to the house for a quick read of the newspaper.
  • Johnny, not to be too graphic, I can have an excellent clearout, then go running and need to go again, except it high pressure rice pudding
    This on ly happens whwn i run
    Seems to be a separate problem
    The queues for the chemical loos were 45 minutes at GNR, so i wasnt taking any chances
  • boing
  • Just to add to the debate. Have also tried immodium but it does seem to work for a long time and i'd rather put up with consequences of not taking it. Before marathons or ultras i'd tend to eat throughout the day b4 without a big meal in the evening. I avoid yogurts (cheese doesnt seem to cause a problem for me) especially M****** lite Toffee flavour! Definitely dont have crisps or peanuts (that i gorge on the rest of the time) and avoid alcohol. And finally, for FLM, get to the start an hour and a half early and just sit in the loo, reading or whatever for ages. You might get strange looks when you come out but if it means not having to duck into a pub its worth it. Has worked about 18/20 marathons/ultras.
    For training runs (which are mostly for me in the country) just accept it will happen, understand its VERY biodegrable and look out for dog walkers! Always feels tons lighter once its over!
  • PH

    Have you tried the Artichoke tablets yet?
    If so, do they work?

    Like I said elsewhere, am using roasted fennel seeds. Half a teaspoon with a meal.
    Have to buy fennel seeds and roast them yourself though.

    Works 90% of the time. Not sure why they don't when they don't if you know what I mean. Will keep investigating.
  • No
    not yet

    ta for reminding me to stock up om immodium tho
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