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How To Deal With The Dirty Runner’s Trots

How To Deal With The Dirty Runner’s Trots

It is a frequent nightmare for all long distance runners:

You are pounding the pavement, making good time, feeling those endorphins cheering you on. Just as you hit the mid-point, you start to feel a little rumble in your guts. Trying to ignore it, you continue pushing yourself to finish the miles. But that rumble turns into a roar, and before you know it you are slowing down so you can clench your butt-cheeks and avoid a disaster.

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Welcome to the running trots, a gastrointestinal complaint that almost all distance runners experience, and yet hardly anyone speaks about. For first time racers, this can be an insanely humiliating realization. But it’s a really common occurrence for long distance runners.

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What Causes The Trots?

Experts say it could be the up and down motion, added to the force of your feet hitting the road, which stimulates the bowels. Others claim a lack of blood flow to the GI tract as it is instead diverted to the muscles needed to run. Some believe it is a simple matter of dehydration.

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More likely, it is a combination of these three factors alongside diet, your body’s familiarity with long runs (new runners often experience much worse trots than experienced ones), and the intensity of your workout. Just understand that many factors contribute to your bowels wanting to empty themselves somewhere around mile thirteen.

How To Deal (Without Dying Of Embarrassment)

It would be awesome to say this issue disappears over time, but the truth is that every runner is going to run into it occasionally, even after their hundredth marathon. You need to learn how to deal with the issue, without expiring from pure mortification.

  • You’ve Got To Relax – First of all, you need to calm down. Stress and anxiety can trigger gastrointestinal problems at the best of times, much less when you are taking part in activities that are known for causing it. Take deep breaths, center yourself, and realize that all runners get the runs on their runs, if you know what I mean. No one is going to judge you for it. Try to know in advance where the rest stops are so you can plan to use the bathroom and avoid having to relieve yourself in public arenas and televised events like these athletes did.
  • Plan ahead – Develop a system for relieving yourself before your run. Especially when training for a marathon, get into the habit of unloading your bowels before starting the race. It might not prevent all the GI problems your long distance run can induce, but the less that’s in there at the start, the less that will force its way out during the race.
  • Plug Yourself Up – It is possible to combat the problem with a bit of preparation, though at the end of it you are probably going to need some Preparation H. Constipation is a pretty effective – albeit, uncomfortable – solution to runner’s trots. For a couple of days before a big race eat plenty of high fiber foods: leafy vegetables, potatoes, white rice, white bread, etc. Nothing will be moving down there.
  • Just Let It Go – What did the legendary Paula Radcliffe teach us? If you gotta go, you gotta go. When you are running in a race it isn’t always feasible to make sure a bathroom is nearby. Making sure you go before the race could work, and at least make you less likely to unload in the middle of it. But otherwise, plan your runs on routes with public toilets along the way. Or run in a gym, or at home on a treadmill.

Everybody Does IT – Especially Runners

In the end, this is a very human, normal problem. It is also one that runners are tragically familiar with. When it happens to you, you can consider it a rite of passage!

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Kevin Jones

Content Strategist

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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