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9515 Views 19 Replies Latest reply: Aug 6, 2010 7:07 AM by Dog-lover 1 2 Previous Next
minibarton Rookie 5 posts since
Jul 14, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 14, 2008 10:55 AM

New to running - but getting diarrhea on longer runs

New runner as of March '08; training for half marathon in Sept. working my way up to gaiing more milage on runs. Seems  now that I am running 3-4 miles at a time, I have to stop and go to the bathroom. ( #2)I have had to juggle my running locations due to this. What is going on? I have logged my food, eaten, not eaten, drank, not drank, nothing seems to make a difference. Seems like I get a mile or so down the way and whoa, I have to go!


I am seriously thinking of dropping my goal of the marathon if I can't get this in check. I don't run too far from home now, because of this. I certainly can't make 5-6 miles with out a stop, how can I make 13.1?


I am 50, first time runner, and a little overweight, but that is not why I started running, I started to get healthy.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008


    This is not an uncommon problem, though you seem to be finding it a lot earlier in your runs than most.  You seem to have taken most of the steps to try to find out what is causing it: timing of meals to runs, checking what you are eating.  Could it be nervousness?  I wonder why you didn't have the problem with your shorter runs, since it's happening after only a mile.  For races at least, you could do a mile or so warmup which hopefully would get you past that point.  Most longer races also have porta-pottis along the course.  Some runners take Imodium before races.  Honestly, we have at least one similar discussion every year on the Marine Corps Marathon message boards.  Sorry I couldn't offer a definitive solution.










  • Urbster Legend 760 posts since
    May 27, 2008

    I ran for a few months, then suddenly for a while there on my 4 mile runs it would hit me right at mile two, whamo, clockwork. I felt like Pavlov's dog.


    It was a phase I went through, I suspect because the body is adjusting to this new thing your doing to it, and it might be mixing up signals. So I stopped eating anything of significance after 7pm and started drinking more fluids. It's been fine lately (except yesterday when I ran with a hangover but that was my own stupid fault). I think you should tough it out and once your system realizes this is your lfestyle now it will get much better. It's a lousy thing right now I know. Hang in there. By the way how manys days of the week are you running??

  • sfrunnergal Rookie 2 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    This is a common problem. Try taking an Immodium an hour or so before you run. It has helped me with this problem and hopefully it will take care of it for you too. Good luck.

  • sfrunnergal Rookie 2 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008

    Also, you can Google "Runners Trots" and get a bunch of information on this condition.

  • Urbster Legend 760 posts since
    May 27, 2008

    Ha!   No, it's not something you talk about at the running store.  Sounds like we have simliar workout habits.   Something else I also found helped,  I cut down my portion size so there wasn't a huge bowl of pasta in my stomache rolling around.  I ate smaller meals more often throughout the day.    I think doing that plus just sticking it out my system finally evened out.  Good luck.

  • JLCool Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 11, 2008

    Glad to know I am not the only one.  Unfortunately my last desperate moment of having to #2 in the woods led me straight into a patch of poison oak.  Watch out where you go!

  • Kimberly_Luke Rookie 4 posts since
    Oct 26, 2007


    I used to be plagued by the same problem, but now have mostly resolved the issue. It was so bad when I was first getting into running and training for my first marathon, but I think my body became more accostomed to it. But I still had to go after 7 miles no matter what.



    If you are trying to eat healthy and are encorporating fiber into you diet, be careful about the source of the fiber. Many of those new yogurts and health low-carb high-fiber bars out there (like the Fiber One bars) have a ton of added fiber by including an ingredient called Inulin.



    This is what Wikipedia says about inulin:



    Inulin is used increasingly in foods because it has unusual nutritional

    characteristics. It ranges from completely bland to subtly sweet and

    can be used to replace sugar, fat, and flour. This is particularly

    advantageous because inulin contains a third to a quarter of the food energy of sugar or other carbohydrates and a sixth to a ninth of the food energy of fat. It also increases calcium absorption[[2]|] and possibly magnesium absorption,[[3]|] while promoting the growth of intestinal bacteria. Nutritionally, it is considered a form of soluble fiber and is sometimes seen as a prebiotic.

    The consumption of large quantities (particularly by sensitive or

    unaccustomed individuals) can lead to gas and bloating. Inulin has a

    minimal impact on blood sugar, and—unlike fructose—is not insulemic and does not raise triglycerides,[[4]|] making it generally considered suitable for diabetics and potentially helpful in managing blood sugar-related illnesses.



    So my running partner and I checked out diets and found that we were both eating a lot of things with inulin. Yogurts, energy bars, etc. Once I cut it out of my diet, my problems with the "runners trots" almost disappeared. I occasionally have to go #2 when running, but its not nearly the same urgency! My last marathon I didn't even ponder stopping for a bathroom break. A major success when compared to my first marathon, which I spent at least 15 minutes in the Porto-potties with diarrhea.



    My advice is to make sure you're eating fiber from natural sources and avoid inulin! I personally would NEVER take immodium before running. But it may be something you're comfortable with. But keep running, and you'll reach your goal of a half or full marathon.



  • ChiRunning Coach Amateur 13 posts since
    Feb 6, 2008


    After coaching lots of runners over the years...



    I agree this is a common problem.



    Geez I've had it myself especially as after spicy Indian or Thai food the night before (not recommended).



    Some things certainly can help here...



    a). Get more fiber in your diet. Eat raw foods every day especially a salad. Also you might consider taking a fiber supplement like psyllium husk the night before you run.



    b.) Stay hydrated. Diaharria can come from dehydration. Drink sports drinks before, during, after your runs. Increase your salt consumption and drink water every hour.



    c). Hang in there. This could be a sign of your body expelling toxins also as you lose weight.



    Keep on running,



    Coach Gary








  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Interesting info about inulin.  I find that Clif bars make me more likely to need to go.  I checked the ingredients and . . . inulin.


  • Jay Silvio We're Not Worthy 1,775 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007

    Welcome to!

    You may find this article from Running Times helpful:

    Good luck and happy running!



    ps - Let us know if you have any more questions or comments.

  • Kristen Hohenwarter Rookie 7 posts since
    Jul 28, 2008


    Thanks for posting that article.  I have been feeling very sick to my stomach after my long runs (7 or more miles).  Although I haven't been having diarrehea, my stomach is very queasy and I often can't eat anything until the next day. 






  • Lucki11 Rookie 4 posts since
    Jul 28, 2008


    What you're experiencing should be considered more of a syndrome, than a simple problem.  I can tell you from experience that the "trots" can be precipitated by numerous things.  From nerves and stress, to sports drinks with high electrolyte content, milk, and yes, even spicy foods. If you alter one thing in your regimen at a time, you'll be more apt to single out the culprits.  I've done the immodium thing, but on longer runs, you run the risk of "backing up the plumbing".  It caused me to vomit on several occasions because I had over 3 hours worth of water in my stomach on 18+ milers.  Immodium stops the natural flow through your gut.  (Probably)okay for short distances, but NOT recommended for long ones. Many sports drinks have a high osmolar properties, meaning they draw water into your intestines, there-by causing you to get the "runs".  Gatorade is a good one for that.  Although, many people are able to tolerate it.  Lactose, a form of sugar, is found in things like lunch meat and hot dogs, to american cheese and most dairy products. It is capable of drawing large amounts of water as well, if not digested promptly.  Then add the law of gravity to the mix, and things get rolling down-hill REAL fast.  I no longer eat ANYTHING the mornings before my long runs, and I consume moderate amounts of water during.  Whatever approach you use to deal with this, be methodical, and use common sense, and you WILL prevail.  Best of Luck!



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