I feel the need to defecate after running about 9 miles, obviously inconvenient on race day
Are there good ways to suppress the urge or to empty my bowels beforehand?
Bowel problems while running are common among distance runners and are often attributed to high-fiber foods. The most popular remedy is eliminating foods such as beans, bran cereals, and even vegetables loaded with fiber from your diet starting two days before a marathon.
Another option is letting a little caffeine help clean you out before the race. Caffeine is known to instigate bowel movements and some runners drink coffee a few hours before a run specifically for that purpose. If you opt for this method, however, be sure to test it out before practice long runs. Otherwise, it may be mid-race that you discover caffeine only makes your problem worse.
Remember to always schedule meals so that your body has time to digest the nutrients fully and eliminate the waste before beginning a run. Liquid meals, such as high-carbohydrate drinks, can help shorten and ease the digestion process, but as with the caffeine, they need to be tested out before race day.
- Beth Dyba
Beth is a member of the MarathonGuide.com staff, writing articles, answering questions and generally helping to maintain this website.