Marathon Training Week 19 | Crappy Situation

It’s that moment, you’re running (outside or on the treadmill) when you realize you’ve got to go and you’ve got to go now. Personally, I hate being in a crappy situation, but what do you do to make this not be an issue?

Marathon Training Week 19 | Crappy Situation by The Modern DadI can’t tell you how many times I’ve been running in a race or just running when it hits me. I have to go to the bathroom and I have to do it right now. Why does this happen? Maybe you’ve just got a nervous stomach, you were traveling and in a different time zone or maybe your diet is a little off. These are all things that can trigger your body to slow blood flow through the gut.

Have you ever tried to sip and sit? Many people swear by having a morning cup of coffee to get their bowels moving. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why coffee works this way, but one study has found that it does seem to induce “a desire to defecate.”

Felice Schnoll-Sussman, MD, a gastroenterologist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University says that any warm beverage can help stimulate a bowel movement, including a cup of tea or even hot water. “The warm liquid acts as a vasodilator,” she says. “It widens blood vessels in the digestive system and helps increase blood flow and GI activity.”

Schnoll-Sussman advises athletes to drink a hot beverage in the morning and sit on the toilet for a while. “Just the act of sitting there for a few minutes can bring on the urge to go, even if you don’t feel like you have to right away.”

Drinking my warm lemon apple cider vinegar every morning has more benefits that just jump starting the metabolism. And help keep me from getting sick this time of year.

Maybe you need to just get up and get moving. Every morning I get up, walk to my car and get on the treadmill when I get to the gym. That’s about all the movement I do before starting my workout. Physical activity can bring on a bathroom break. This is one reason a warm-up can be so important before a race. “Before you head out the door for a hard workout, I would suggest exercising lightly to help stimulate a bowel movement,” Schnoll-Sussman says.

Staying hydrated is also key—especially if you’re flying on a plane or otherwise traveling. “Constipation occurs when the stool is too dry to move through the body easily. So drinking plenty of water can always help move things along,” Schnoll-Sussman says. Filling up on tons of water days before your race, and drinking that warm beverage first thing in the morning, is the best way to make sure you’re able to go when you need to.

Marathon Training Week 19 | Crappy Situation by The Modern DadPersonally, I HATE using public bathrooms. So if I can do anything to avoid that situation I am all for it. Maybe try jogging up and down the stairs or doing some jumping jacks or dynamic stretches. Are you already at the race start? Warm up with some strides while you’re still near the porta potties. Really though, there is nothing worse than being at the gym or away from home when suddenly a crappy situation comes up. So I will for sure be trying these things out. I don’t want to lose my treadmill at the gym—or crap on someone lawn.