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Why Running Makes You Poop: Understanding the Connection

Do you adore the open road, the wind in your hair, and the sudden, uninvited urge to poop? Ah, the joys of being a runner! Ever pondered over the peculiar link between running and bowel movements? Well, it’s not a mere coincidence, my friend, but a scientific spectacle that we’re about to unravel in this article. Join us as we dive into the crappier side of running (pun totally intended) and offer some sage advice to keep those embarrassing mid-run ‘pit stops’ at bay.

The Science Behind the Connection

You’re out on a run, feeling like a gazelle bounding across the plains, when suddenly, your gut screams, “Bathroom! Now!” Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this ‘shitty’ situation. Research suggests that a whopping 90% of marathon mad hatters encounter some form of tummy turmoil during or after their jaunt. But what on earth prompts your insides to play up the moment you lace up those running shoes? Let’s delve into the bowels of this mystery, shall we?

Alright, here’s the scoop on poop: when we hit the pavement running, our bodies kick into survival mode. Blood, the life juice that usually assists in our digestive escapades, gets a VIP invite to the muscle party, leaving our poor, neglected digestive system in the lurch. This leads to our food taking a leisurely stroll through our digestive tract, spending more time than usual in the colon – the body’s very own poop factory. So, with food overstaying its welcome and a colon working overtime, it’s no surprise that we’re often hit with the sudden urge to visit the porcelain throne mid-run.

Why Running Makes You Poop: The Main Factors

Time to put on our detective hats, folks, as we’re about to snoop around the curious case of running-induced pooping. From diet to hydration, there’s a cavalcade of culprits that can amplify this peculiar phenomenon. So, without further ado, let’s peel back the curtain on the usual suspects!

1. Dehydration

Here’s a twist in our plot: the Dehydration Dilemma! You see, when you’re parched, your body turns into a water conservationist, pulling H2O out of anything it can, including your poop. This transformation turns your waste into stubborn stool tenants that refuse to vacate the premises. Add to that the waterfall of sweat you’re producing while running, and you’ve got yourself a dehydration drama that can turn your bathroom breaks into a challenging episode.

2. Diet

Ah, the Food Factor! Picture this: you’re chowing down on fiber-packed meals like there’s no tomorrow. Great for digestion, right? While fiber is the star of the digestion show, too much of it turns your belly into a bloated balloon and transforms you into a human whoopee cushion. And if you skimp on the fiber, you might find yourself struggling with constipation, making your bathroom breaks feel like a Herculean task. So, it’s all about hitting that sweet spot with your fiber intake.

3. Pre-Run Routine

Pre-run rituals, let’s talk about ’em! Picture this: you’re munching on a feast fit for a king or downing cups of joe like there’s no tomorrow just before you hit the pavement. Now, this might just send your digestive system into overdrive. Likewise, if you’re setting off for your run faster than your stomach can say “digestion”, you might find yourself in the midst of a tummy turmoil or be struck by a surprise ‘call of nature’. So remember, folks, allow some ‘digest-downtime’ before you launch into your run.

4. Running Intensity

And now, let’s talk about the ‘fast and the furious’ aspect of running! Cranking up the intensity of your run to beast mode can stir up some unexpected drama in your tummy town. Here’s the scoop: high-octane workouts can trigger your body to unleash a wave of stress hormones. This hormone surge can then host a rave party in your intestines with some serious dance-offs, leading to intense contractions. And before you know it, you’ve got an urgent VIP invitation to the porcelain throne.

5. Running Duration

Here’s the long and short of it, the length of your run can be a real game-changer in the potty department. Long-distance runners, you’ve probably already been initiated into the ‘Gastrointestinal Issues Club.’ Why, you may wonder? Well, the long haul of your run grants your food an extended vacation in Colonville. The more time it spends there, the more your body starts hinting it’s time for your food to check out… and voila! There comes the call of nature. Short-distance runners, on the other hand, your food’s stay is more of a brief layover, so you’re less likely to experience those urgent pit stops.

How to Prevent Gastrointestinal Issues During Running

With the poop-and-run mystery solved, let’s shift gears to prevention, because no one wants to star in their own version of a bad toilet-humor movie. So, buckle up, as we dive into the world of ‘how not to transform your run into a frantic search for a restroom.’

1. Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated, my friends. It’s like being at a never-ending party with your body where the only acceptable beverage is good ol’ H2O. Guzzle it down before, during, and after your run. This will keep constipation at bay and your digestive tract happier than a seagull with a french fry.

2. Watch Your Diet

Be a picky eater, especially before your run. Dodge fiber-rich foods like a ninja avoids shurikens – these culinary culprits can cause some serious tummy turmoil. Instead, cosy up with easy-to-digest foods like bananas or oatmeal – they’re your digestive system’s BFFs. And remember to chug down water and electrolytes like you’re a camel prepping for a desert trek. Hydration is key, amigos!

3. Develop a Pre-Run Routine

Forge your own pre-run rituals, like a seasoned wizard preparing for a magical duel. This could involve munching on a lightweight snack or meal a good few hours before your run – think of it as an appetizer for your workout. Make a pit stop at the porcelain throne before you kick off, and always leave a generous buffer of time for your body to break down that food before you pound the pavement. It’s all about strategy!

4. Listen to Your Body

If, mid-run, you sense the rumbling call of nature, don’t play the hero and try to muscle through it. Start scanning your surroundings for a restroom or a trusty portable johnny-on-the-spot, pronto. Ignoring your body’s signals and holding in the troops can lead to all sorts of displeasure, not to mention pain, and potentially spark a full-blown rebellion in your gut further down the road. So, heed the call, friend, and let it go!

5. Experiment with Running Intensity

Think about shaking up the intensity of your gallivants. Could be that your insides are just not fans of the high-speed hustle and prefer a bit of a slow dance. You might find that, for your gut’s peace of mind (and yours too), playing it cool and cruising at a more laid-back pace could dial down those rumbly tummy troubles. Remember, it’s not always about breaking speed records – sometimes it’s more about breaking wind records!

6. Don’t Overdo It

Lastly, don’t go all “Road Runner” on yourself right out of the gate. If you’re just dipping your toes into the jogging pool, ease into it with shorter jaunts before leveling up to marathon madness. And hey, if your insides start protesting mid-stride, don’t be afraid to hit the pause button and give your body some much-needed R&R. After all, it’s not a race… well, unless it is, but you get the idea!


Is it normal to poop during a run?

Indeed, it’s more common than finding a cat video on the internet. Up to 90% of our long-distance sprinting comrades can testify to tummy troubles either during or post their exercise escapades.

Can running cause diarrhea?

Oh, indeed it can. Imagine this: running triggers a sort of “slow-motion” mode in your digestive tract. Food takes a leisurely stroll instead of the usual brisk walk through it. And for some unfortunate souls, this results in an all-too-hasty exit strategy, also known as diarrhea.

What should I eat before a run to avoid gastrointestinal issues?

Here’s the game plan: befriend bananas, cozy up to oatmeal, and make a toast (pun intended) to a little bit of peanut butter. Steer clear of those dastardly high-fiber foods, dairy, and anything else that’ll stir up a ruckus in your digestive playground. Stick to the good stuff and keep those pesky gastrointestinal gremlins at bay.

Can I prevent gastrointestinal issues while running?

Absolutely, you can take control! Here’s your six-step secret sauce to keeping those belly blues at bay while you’re running.

Hydration station: Water is your best bud. Always keep it close.

Foodie front: Be a wise diner, not just a fast runner. Keep an eye on that pre-run grub.

Rituals rule: Set up a pre-run routine that fits like a glove. You know, bathroom, light snack, interpretive dance… whatever floats your boat!

Body banter: Your body’s chattering away; you just gotta listen. If it says ‘bathroom,’ don’t play deaf.

Tweak the tempo: Play around with your running rhythm and see if your gut grooves to a particular beat.

Chill, champ: Don’t go full throttle every time. The tortoise had it right all along.

Now go and conquer those runs (and runny situations!).

What should I do if I have to poop during a run?

Scramble for the nearest loo or find solace in a portable throne ASAP. Keeping the “guests” waiting at the “exit door” could kickstart a rebellion in your gut, leading to discomfort, agony, and potentially, more severe belly brouhahas down the line. So, don’t play ‘hide and seek’ with nature’s call!

Is it safe to continue running if I have diarrhea during a run?

Nope, running with diarrhea is as advisable as bringing a skunk to a perfume convention. It’s a fast track to Dehydrationville and a plethora of other health hiccups. If your gut starts playing its own version of “Riverdance,” hit the brakes, take a breather, and let your system settle. No race is worth your “runs” turning into the literal kind!


Yes, it’s bizarre but true, the intersection of jogging and jobbies is a genuine phenomenon. By tapping into your inner scientist and getting a handle on the gut-gallop dynamics, you can keep your running adventures poop-free. Keep in mind the golden rules: hydrate like a fish, be as picky with your food as a food critic on a diet, pay attention to your body’s whispers (or shouts), and don’t push yourself like an overzealous gym trainer. So, lace up those trainers, and enjoy your poop-interruption-free trot! Happy, and hopefully poop-less, running!

Interested in more information on running, check out the latest entries in our journal

On the last note I am very fond of funny articles, I read this recently at our friends The Wrestling Kingdom called WWE: How Roman Reigns Became The Tribal Chief

If you want a good laugh I recommend this article

Clint McDougal
Clint McDougalhttp://mindstride.xyz
Get ready to meet Clint McDougal, the running sensation who outruns laughter and leaves you breathless with his witty charm. Join the hilarious journey of a wise runner extraordinaire!


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