Runners trots

Hi - newbie looking for advice. Have been running for approx 7 months and have had problems with "runners trots"!. 

It was worst after a few 10 mile runs but have also suffered after an 8 mile run. 

Am concerned as now it has struck after a 4 miler and am trying to start training in earnest for the Brighton half marathon next month and marathon in April. 

Today wasn't that bad but previously have been struck by several bouts of diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps which make me question if it is all worth it. 

I have eaten two hot cross buns, two jam sandwiches, a chocolate cereal bar and 4 Jaffa cakes today as I thought previously the issue could have been too much fibre and so changed from wholemeal to White bread. Dairy wise I have had two coffees with dairy whitener. 

Any advice or tips appreciated. If I thought I could run with less food in me I would but am already falling foul of the wife for not eating enough!

Would the food eaten the day before cause issue (ie weetabix and veg stir fry)?????

Don't know what else I can do especially as I had already emptied the tank pre run!


  • Don't know what the answer is - but if someone does come up with suggestions then I will be interested to hear - I have started to use 3 times imodium instants before a race but obviously can't do that all the time in training - I just take some bags out with me and scoop it up and put it in bins!!!!  image
  • Give yourself time to go to the toilet twice before you head out, that should make a real difference. If you still have the problem then I would suggest re-jigging your intake again.
  • Any advice on what to eat?

    Thank you for both replies
  • Not sure, as I still get the same problem from time-to-time. I find it is in the wake of a night of drinking so isn't a regular problem for me.
  • Caffeine in gels makes it worse, if you use them whilst running. I don't know about the coffee and chocolote before a run- I tend to run on empty except a smoothie, unless I'm going for a long run, when porridge seems the best answer

    Can you plan your route around toilets? petrol stations/ parks/ stations may have loos you can access- or do a loop that brings you nearer to home at the appropriate stage of your run?

    I think it's a problem that gradually settles with training- but the immodiums are definitely the best approach on race day!

  • Mmmm -I get 'em and at one time simply "adopted a bush" (called George) near to where the trots usually  hit me.
  • Amusing article by Paul Tonkinson in this month's RW - 'Ins and outs: If getting caught short is a running battle, rest assured you're not alone'. Doesn't offer any real practical advice but does draw a smile or three and helps you to feel that "you're not the only one who runs this particular gaunlet".
  • i used to suffer from the trots, had really bad cramps on a few of my runs. I do keep a food diary, i've had to cut out youghurt for one thing as that was causing problems i think and I make sure i'm regular (if you know what i mean)

    Before an actual race, im not sure if its nerves but i tend to go before my run which is a plus. Maybe its just until your body gets used it all this running aswell

  • I have learned to avoid coffee for at least four hours before a run. Ideally eat nothing within two hours of heading out. Avoid peanuts.
  • might have a big psychological element, try accepting it and forget trying to control it (not literally- that would be messy !) and it might right itself. It might not be running related, it maybe a coincidence that it started the same time you started running. Perhaps IBS or chron's or something similar but most probably not ? Also try eating what you fancy instead of what you 'think' is best for you, sometimesyour body knows exactly what you need and you should feed it accordingly in my opinion.

  • The night before I did my 5k PB I ate a full portion of special fried rice, tub of chicken with ginger and spring onion and a portion of chips. So I would be inclined to agree that you should eat what you feel like!
  • I have had a couple of 'near missess' shall we say... Now I stay clear of food for at least two hours before running I just have a banana one hour before a long run with a couple of pints of water. Then I make sure I sit on the toilet for as long as it takes (even twice with short interval) to make sure it is finally safe to go out...

    ...Finally, always take dummy paper...! I hope this helps

  • I find I'm worse if anything stresses me on my run - I'm usually okay up to 6 miles, but anything over that and I plan a route where I know there are toilets available (which reduces stress levels before I set out and whilst I'm running).

     I eat only plain toast or porridge (with water, I don't like it with milk) before a run and let that settle for about two hours, and also have a protein shake.  After that I drink water diluted with a little smoothie to bring the carb content up to about 5%.  Annoyingly my OH never has any problems and can wolf down a big chunk of fruitcake and go straight out.

    If I'm running after work, then I have an additional snack around 5 p.m.

    I am worse if I am not properly hydrated and I find that upping the water I drink a couple of days before a long run helps too.  Anything over 6 miles and I take a sports drink with me, although I usually water them down as a find them too strong flavour-wise.

     On a run which is longer than an hour and a quarter (71/2 - 8 miles) then I take an immodium about two hours before the run (unless I'm doing laps which are close to home and I can make a detour if necessary, in which case I don't bother) and if I'm running over 10 miles, then I'll take another about an hour before.

    As insurance, I check all race events to make sure there are toilets - if it's a half marathon and they are only at the start/finish line, then I won't enter!  The two marathons I have done, I was absolutely fine with the couple of imodiums.  You can take the melting ones with you which don't need water, but although they call them instants, they are only instants in that they melt instantly.  They still take an hour to work!

     The day before a long run I do avoid curries or anything with lots of pulses.  If the long run is a race, when I get more stressed out, then I'll reduce the fibre for two to three days before.  I'm not particularly fond of dairy, so I can't say whether this is an issue - some people find that it helps to avoid this.

    I think the main trigger for me is stress -  not necessarily the stress of being worrined about getting caught short whilst I'm out, but putting my body under the stress which occurs as a result of a tough training session.  So for me, I do everything I can to aleviate stress and find planning is key;  keep myself well dehydrated, watch what I eat the day(s) before, an in the few hours before; know my route and potential toilet stops; take immodium (or boots do a capsule which is cheaper and has the same ingredients) as insurance if necessary.

     Unfortunately, there is no magic fix.  Just trial and error to find out what lessens the instances, and ultimately find a routine which works best for you.

     And remember, you are not alone.  Happens to lots and lots of runners, just most suffer in silence!


  • Sorry to bring up this thread again....but I also occasionally struggle with this. It's been fine as I live out in the country, so there's plenty of hedges to jump behind! However I'm about to move down to London, so obviously a big change of scenery, and I'm getting nervous about what would happen if I get a bout of this whilst out running there.  Is it usually ok to nip into a petrol station or somewhere? As I don't know the area at all yet I can't really plan a route where I know there will be toilets... will most parks have one somewhere? Bit unsure of what to do should I get a bit desperate! Thanks

  • Long runs at the weekend I'll eat bacon/eggs 5 hours before, wetabix 3 hours before and a banana half hour before. I'm generally fine unless I've been drinking the night before.

    I struggle a little more running after work I think as I have less of a routine diet at work and also drink much more caffeine.

    Having said ... one of the best runs I ever did was after I'd eaten chinese take away the night before, woken up 3 times in the night and had a bit more and then finished off the prawn crackers in the morning. Classy.

    Moral of this story - think caffeine a big issue.

  • Ah and runwiththewind ... I live in London and I have stopped in petrol stations, train stations, pubs and hotels ... tbh, I think it helps being a girl in these situtations.

  • Caffeine, dairy, stress at work and too much mental rehersal for your training session/race are the enemies.

    I'm sure that most trots are largely a result of adrenaline/nervousness/excitement.......

  • Oh and one last one.....chewing gum in conjunction with the above. Increased chewing when nervous/excited, swallowing more saliva = faster digestion. Most chewing gum packets say 'excessive consumption can have laxitive effects'.

    But always try to pop a chewie after a race before congratulating fellow runners. Runners breath smells worse than runners trots!! Ha ha

  • Vicky - thank you! It's worrying me a tad, but I figue I'll just run in the nearest place!

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