Needing A Poo On A Run

Managing Digestion for Runners: Tips for a Smooth Run

With Coach Alexa, Online Running Coach for We Run and the We Run Virtual Running Club

Hi Team We Run, Coach Alexa here. I have been talking (as part of my privileged position as a running coach!) to quite a few runners over the last week or two about pooing, and needing a poo whilst running.

Understanding Digestion and Running

Running gives your bowels a little bit of a shake and a squeeze, affecting your intestines. It’s a great cure for constipation. However, if you have a normal healthy set of bowels, this movement might mean you need to go for a poo.

Tips for Managing Bowel Movements While Running

There are a few tips that might help if you’re struggling with this during your runs. Self-experimentation is key to understanding the impact of different variables on you. When preparing for a run, especially a longer one, try to avoid other factors that might speed up the transit of food through your bowels.

Diet Adjustments Before Running

Fibre Intake: High fibre foods are great for digestion but also speed up digestive transit. Consider cutting down on fibre the day before and the morning of a long run.
Fat Content and Spiciness: Be mindful of the fat content and spiciness of the foods you eat before running. High fat and spicy foods can affect your digestion significantly.
Food Volume: Avoid eating more than usual. The idea of loading up on pasta or other foods before a run might not be beneficial, as a higher food volume can increase the need for bowel movements.

The Benefits of Keeping a Digestive Diary

Keeping a diary about what you eat and its impact on your digestion can be helpful. Note how your stomach reacts and the effects on your bowels, particularly for the food you’ve eaten earlier.

Anecdotal Evidence and Practical Advice

A runner I spoke to was experiencing frequent bowel movements during her long runs. We eventually realised it was because she was eating dates and prunes as her running fuel, which are known to relieve constipation symptoms. This combination sped up her digestive process.

Encouragement for Open Discussion Among Runners

It’s essential to talk about these issues, like needing to go to the loo, wild peeing, or needing a poo on a long run in an awkward place. These are topics we should discuss as runners because they impact our training.


Keep these tips in mind for your next run. Remember, it’s about finding what works best for your body and running style. Happy Running!

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