Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mobility is motility...unfortunately

Every time I run, whether just a PT test, a training run or a marathon, the unspoken goal is really just not to poop my pants*.

Definitely not lady-like, nothing dainty about it, but $#it happens and based on my perfunctory Google search, The Running Bubblies is a common affliction- some consolation there, eh?

So what to do and what causes this anyway?

Per the Mayo Clinic, runner's diarrhea is loose stools during or after a run often occurring in long-distance runners.  The smart folks in Rochester think that this lovely condition can be caused by the sheer motion of running, impaired digestion due to reduced blood flow to the digestive system as blood is shunted preferentially towards muscles, and anxiety before big races. "The bowel weeps for tears unshed," Janelle once told me.

Suggestions to ameliorate include avoiding trigger foods (spicy, gas-producing, fiber-rich), artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, and keeping well-hydrated.  I started by avoiding my trigger foods for more than a day before a long run.

File:Sucralose2.svg nemesis
I've found some relief by fasting completely at least 3H before running.  I take particular care to avoid Splenda (sucralose) which is probably for the best- your body can't digest it- it's sugar with chlorine atom substitutions and likely a carcinogen anyway.  I also steer clear of pre-run high-fiber meals.  The two days leading up to a marathon, I eat a completely soft diet of miso soup, crackers, dry toast, jello and the like.  Early in the morning before a big race, I actually like to drink a big mug of black coffee which speeds things along wink-wink before the start.

Of course, if you are constipated,  I think we've just found you a good solution!  

Hope this helps!

*Which, for the record, has never happened despite some close calls/sprints home