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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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