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A post that starts with spicy Indian food and ends with a discussion on pooping.  Go figure.

 

The big excitement of the day was a baby doctor appointment.  Just the ‘normal’ stuff – got weighed and measured; listened to the heartbeat.  All is well.  Hurrah!  And, although I was pretty sure this was the case based on belly mapping, we got confirmation that the head is down (AKA optimal birthing position). 

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The midwife taught me how to feel the baby’s head through my stomach – you give it a really hard squeeze!  It was kind of weird to hold the baby’s head in between my fingers… it was about the size of a small orange.

 

Right before the appointment, I had a Think Thin protein bar and watermelon with vinegar crisps (and epic combination, indeed). 

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And per our tradition, the Husband and I headed to get Indian food after our appointment.  Soon, we’ll be going to an appointment every week, so I guess we’ll be eating a LOT of Indian food.

 

Vegetable korma:

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And a side of soup.

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Okay, on to fun topics…

 

How to Make Yourself ‘Go’

 

One of my most popular posts is, without a doubt, How to Handle 5 Running Gross-Outs, which tackles lovely topics like blisters, chafing, pooping, and more.  If you run, you know what a big deal pooping can be (the jostling motion triggers a lot of people’s bowels).  Did you poop before your run?  Did you just eat something that’s going to make you poop in the middle of a run?  What if you have to poop and there’s no bathrooms nearby?!  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… Everyone poops. But runners like to talk about it with each other.

I recently received this comment on the post from a reader named Anna, and I thought this would be an EXCELLENT comment to open up to everyone for discussion.

 

I keep reading about how important it is to poop in the morning before a race. How can I make sure my body will be ready to do this in the morning (anyway besides caffeine/coffee)? I don’t know if this makes sense but I am so worried that I wont be able to and then I’ll have to go during the race!

 

My thought is that the actual running is just one part of training for a race.  There’s a lot of other ‘stuff’ that goes into training, too – figuring out what to wear, what and when to drink, what and when to eat, and – yes – how to ensure you poop in the morning.  Waking up and doing a long run every Saturday or Sunday for weeks on end helps you figure out how, exactly, to make yourself go before a run.

 

Here’s what works for me on race morning.  First of all, I eat something bland and basic the night before the race – something I know I can digest by morning and usually a dinner that I’ve had prior to my other long runs.  The night before a race is perhaps NOT the best night to go get Indian food, mmkay?  Secondly, I wake up with plenty of time to spare.  Even if the race is three miles from my front door, I’m awake at least an hour before I need to leave to give everything time to ‘work.’  Next, I eat a pre-race breakfast, which usually consists of a peanut butter sandwich and a banana.  I know this is an ideal pre-race breakfast for me because I’ll eat it before every single long run.  Perhaps bananas make you constipated or there’s simply too much fiber in that meal for your digestive system.  It’s all about experimentation.  And lastly, I don’t get too worked up about going.  Pooping is definitely one of those things that you can psych yourself out of doing.  I assume I’m going to go, so I do.  A few times, I’ve had to wait until arrival at the race, but you know – when you’ve gotta go, you’ll go.  Port-a-potties and all. 

 

Now that I’ve shared perhaps far too much information about my pre-race bathroom habits, I’d love for you to overshare, too.  Any tips for Anna on making yourself go?  Any pooping horror stories to share?  You can read my horror stories (which, awesomely enough, involve peeing myself mid-race) on the original Gross-Out post.

{ 62 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love April 16, 2012, 4:12 pm

    I cant wait for watermelon season in NY we eat 1 in 1 day, yes that is a lot of watermelon, but I just love it! I am glad the baby is fine and in the right position :)

    Reply
  • Laura @ She Eats Well April 16, 2012, 4:23 pm

    Not gonna lie, I love to talk about all things health-related and poopin’ too. Especially because so many people deal with IBS. I rarely go before a race because I’ve always had regularity problems, ie, IBS (just like many women). I also can’t stomach a full breakfast before the race. However if I do go, it’s thanks to a hot bit of coffee in the AM; it helps get things going and keeps me caffeinated. If you are addicted to caffeine, you want to get some form in pre-race to avoid caffeine withdrawal after (NOT fun). I try not to get too worked up about going either. I still think the most important and best advice about running races is don’t do anything different the night before or day of – treat it race day like you did your training runs. Poopin’ and all!

    Reply
  • Sarah B April 16, 2012, 4:43 pm

    If you normally poop in the morning after you get up, make sure you follow your normal morning routine then your body should just behave as normal. If however your race is early and your body doesn’t want to ‘work’, start getting up earlier each day during race week so your body can re-learn ‘normal’ and you poop on race day before the race.

    Suggestions from ironman tri type friends are to remove fibre from your diet in the couple of days before the race. I don’t subscribe to that theory and just eat what is normal for me. But each to their own!

    Reply
  • Tanya April 16, 2012, 4:54 pm

    Do people really only have this problem during a race? I have it just during any particular run. It generally takes 2 or 3 miles and I gotta go! And since I run 5 days a week, I’m not going to forgo fiber or spicy foods as I’d never be able to eat them. So far my solutions are: running my first couple miles on the treadmill, doing one mile loops by my house, or making sure my route passes by a public bathroom. But I’d definitely prefer a sure-fire make yourself go first plan. Hope someone has one.

    Reply
    • Alexis April 16, 2012, 10:16 pm

      My running buddy has the same problem, and I thought she was the only one! We plan all our routes past public toilets, which luckily there are many of where we live. I’m the total opposite. I’ve never in my life had to go during a run. I do wake up way early for long runs (like 4am if we’re doing a 6am run) as some suggested, and get my coffee and breakfast in then. For 6 miles and under, the thought of preparing never even crosses my mind. I do think that it helps that I get up at 5am every weekday, and my body is used to going upon waking every day.

      Reply
  • Abby April 16, 2012, 4:55 pm

    I had a baby appointment this morning too! I’m 20 weeks along. It’s our second child and I find it amazing every time I hear that heartbeat! We also had an ultrasound last Friday, was able to see the baby in 3-D which was so crazy with detail. Good luck Caitlin in the next couple months!

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:30 am

      Congrats on your pregnancy :)

      Reply
  • Kelli April 16, 2012, 5:15 pm

    This is not a popular solution, but I get up super early on long run training days as well as race day. Like….4 am. I get up, drink a couple cups of coffee & eat my normal breakfast. Then I relax & read & by the time I need to leave for my run I have already taken care of business. I usually run at 6 or 7 am for long runs, so I feel good that I have enough time to get things going. My running partner thinks I’m crazy for doing this, but otherwise I get tons of cramps from eating & have a really horrible panicky emergency situation at some point!

    Reply
  • Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 16, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Ha, I love the topics you bring up!

    Honestly, I find that my nerves always make me go before a race, usually multiple times! I always bring extra toilet paper to the race (I’ve been in a porta potty minutes before a race and didn’t have any toilet paper but didn’t notice until after I went…and that’s why the person after my saw my thong in the potty!) and now I always make sure I get to a race a bit early to have time to go again.

    Some people suggest cutting out fiber for the few days prior but that really messes me up! I would keep your eating to it’s normal schedule (with more bland food the night before).

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:31 am

      Haha i love that you wiped your ass with a thong.

      Reply
  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) April 16, 2012, 5:19 pm

    Plow pose. Never fails.

    Reply
    • Laura @ She Eats Well April 16, 2012, 10:00 pm

      OMG really? This might have just changed my life.

      Reply
      • Hannah April 17, 2012, 2:52 am

        Yes… yogis recommend not to do inversion poses without having cleared your bowels but if you are looking for some stimulation then it is helpful.

        Reply
  • Abbie Anderson April 16, 2012, 5:22 pm

    I love your site. You do a great job and love reading your stuff. I”m putting together a huge giveaway in conjunction with a novel about running. I’m hoping your blog would be willing to participate. The way it’s set up is hopefully a win win for everyone by promoting our book and increasing your followers at the same time. I’ve emailed you more details. If you don’t receive it please email me at bubcoats@hotmail.com
    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Sarah April 16, 2012, 5:31 pm

    I’m training for a marathon in June and have been wondering how people do this. I’m not a coffee drinker and I don’t usually eat much if anything before a run. All I can eat before is plain toast or a whole grain waffle (if I eat pb or banana, I burp up the taste my entire run).

    I haven’t had any problems yet (the longest distance I’ve gone so far is 13). I usually end up going after (and after breakfast). Should I just not worry about it?

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:31 am

      If you’re okay with it, it’s fine! It won’t impact your performance. I would just worry about the urge hitting me mid-run!

      Reply
  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 16, 2012, 5:40 pm

    I have to get up early and drink coffee and water right away and walk around. I try and “go” before I eat if I can because I find eating stops anything from happening for me… love this topic by the way.

    Reply
  • Hillary April 16, 2012, 5:42 pm

    This is always a fear of mine before races, too. Can we be honest? Usually I’m so nervous before a race that this, um, isn’t a problem at all. The butterflies in my stomach take care of that!

    Reply
  • Nicole April 16, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Hahaha, I am so glad I’m not the only one that plans for this type of situation.

    I have had too many close calls so I am always prepared for anything now. Knowing where every public bathroom is on my regular running route, stuffing TP in my running shorts pockets, not eating at least 2 hrs before a run.

    My routine for race mornings is eating something that is easily digestible for dinner the night before and then not eating anything else after 8pm, getting up 2 hrs before start time, eating something bland for breakfast with hot decaffeinated tea. This routine has taken me 6 years to figure out.

    I think it’s just a lot of trial and error, like you say, because everyone is different and what might work for some (caffeinated beverages) might not work for others (caffeinated beverages having adverse effects to say the least!)

    Reply
  • Kristin April 16, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I usually wake up at least 2-3 hours before the race, eat a small bowl of oatmeal and I’m “good to go”…haha. If I want to ensure that it will happen, a small cup of coffee will do it. I’ve also taken Psyllium husk (basically metamucil) the night before), which also does the trick. I’ve developed mild IBS over the past few years though and my strategies above still work seem to work ok with that. I do get more nervous about it if it doesn’t happen before the race though, since it causes me to have to go pretty immediately. I don’t know why this condition seems to be so common with females in their 20s, but it’s certainly annoying.

    Reply
  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets April 16, 2012, 6:01 pm

    So funny because I had an “issue” with this, this morning! I usually know my schedule, but today was off and I ended up cutting my run short and walking back to the house LOL. Listen to your body and wait until you go is what I learned this morning.

    Reply
  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) April 16, 2012, 6:03 pm

    As an IBSer with multiple food allergies and intolerances, this is a hot topic for me. It’s either too much or too little for me. When I’m eating well and have no contamination, things are running on the normal side, but I’ve learned that sleep is a HUGE component to getting things going for me. If I’m not rested and relaxed, it’s not happening.

    I’m glad things went well today!

    Reply
  • Marlène April 16, 2012, 6:04 pm

    I’m going to say it… I’ve resorted to Glycerin Suppositories on race day.

    I used to be super irregular (I’m much better now that I’ve cut soy from my diet) so I never knew from one day to the next what my routine would be like. I had so many close calls during training runs that I didn’t want to take the chance whenever I had an actual race. So I’d use the suppository 1 hour before I had to leave the house, but it would usually do its thing within 15-30 min.

    Kinda yucky though.

    Reply
  • Rachel April 16, 2012, 6:12 pm

    I always have about 6 – 8 ounces of warm/room temp water with a half a lemon squeezed into it as soon as I get up, on an empty stomach. I would definitely recommend trying it first on a day that you’re not running a long run, but I do this regularly even when I’m not running.

    Reply
  • Amelia April 16, 2012, 6:13 pm

    Love me some Indian food. Haven’t had it in a while! Funny thought–> I thought you were going to say that Indian food makes you ‘go’ at the beginning of the post. Ha! :)

    My “gotta go” tips are: Give yourself ample time. I eat exactly 1 hour before leaving the house. This usually makes me have to go by the 1/2 hour mark. All bodies are different. Drink some tea and eat some breakfast. Depending on the duration of the event depends on what I eat. I usually opt for a banana/mango/date smoothie made w/ just the fruit and almond milk. Very simple, quick sugar, and not a ton of fiber for my digestion. No added protein or fat either. I have found in my experience that protein/fat slow me down. Experiment! :)

    Reply
  • Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit April 16, 2012, 6:16 pm

    Getting up early and having a cup of coffee. It always works. Not just for races but if we’re going on a road trip or anything that involves an early morning drive somewhere. As for horror stories, I’ve run Hood to Coast (relay race from the mountains to the coast) and your stomach gets messed up. Big time. You run 3 legs in just about 24 hours and by the time you finish your 2nd leg you don’t want to eat anything and yet somehow everyone gets diarrhea. The port o potties towards the end of the course are so gross. And the lines are crazy. I now take Imodium before I run to make sure I don’t have to go en route.

    Reply
  • Penny April 16, 2012, 6:57 pm

    I’m SO going to overshare……

    My body and mind are so connected. Whenever I start getting dressed and mentally psyched up to run, my brain tells my body what’s about to happen, and my bowels start to empty. Like, a lot. :-) Even if I don’t HAVE to go, I end up on the toliet like 3 times while I’m dressing and getting my running shoes on. It’s all mental for me. Once I start running, everything is nice and empty. :-)

    Reply
  • loren April 16, 2012, 7:26 pm

    too funny. Caitlin, the way I can myself go is sooo weird.

    Well, like any other girl, before I go on a date I put on perfume. Dates= nervous feelings & emotions..

    I have literally TRAINED myself so that when I smell perfume while I am trying to go to the BR, I WILL have to go.. it is kind of strange but awesome at the time. So whenever I have to go go go, like before a race, I take a whiff of perfume and I go.. Omg.. I am like Pavlov’s dogs..

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:32 am

      hahah this is an awesome comment.

      Reply
  • Dori April 16, 2012, 7:47 pm

    Fleet Enemas. They are amazing and not harmful (it’s just saline solution), and they work within a few minutes.

    Reply
  • Sarah April 16, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Sooo….I started reading this post while eating a chocolate snack pack (<=== just rediscovered these in adulthood…so good, and a good source of calcium!). Reading about pudding while eating chocolate pudding, not the best combo, lol.

    Reply
    • Sarah April 16, 2012, 7:59 pm

      I meant *pooping*, clearly, I can’t even type it ;)

      Reply
    • Ashley April 16, 2012, 11:49 pm

      OMG. hahahhahahahahahah. I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted, but I found this typo super cute and funny.

      Reply
  • Laura April 16, 2012, 8:02 pm

    I just came across your blog– glad to have found you! Congrats on your pregnancy, it’s such an amazing time… at least, I thought so! :) Great post, too– being able to go before a race is pretty key to race success!! I do pretty much what you do, don’t think I have much to add!

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:33 am

      Thanks Laura!

      Reply
  • Mandy April 16, 2012, 8:14 pm

    The night before, you can take this great powder called “natural calm”; it’s a magnesium supplement and really helps with digestion. I would experiment with it before race day. In the morning you can drink a glass of water diluted with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and that helps too. Or eat an apple first thing in the morning seems to help. Also make sure you’re hydrated from the day before. If you can drink 2-3 liters of pure water during the day you shouldn’t have problems going!

    Reply
  • jennyV April 16, 2012, 8:27 pm

    No advice for her, but also have to (over)share. I NEVER went #2 before long runs, or any run for that matter… that said, I ALWAYS go multiple times before races. It’s not that I can force myself to go, it’s just that my nerves take over and I cannot NOT go. I’m kind of thankful for my nervous stomach in these instances :)

    Reply
  • Alison April 16, 2012, 8:49 pm

    When I was first starting running, more than once I found myself a mile or so from home when the urge “to go” would suddenly hit. It was annoying and SCARY (scary in the sense that I wasn’t going to make it home in time!)

    Eventually though, my body rhythms just shifted without consciously doing anything different, I found that if I gave it 20 minutes or so before heading out, I would answer the call of nature before I even had my shoes on. Even on race day all I need is a little time at my computer reading email, etc and eventually… BINGO!

    At 31 weeks pregnant, my “schedule” all thrown off! Running is on hiatus, meals and snacks are all over place, I never know what to expect day to day. This is how it goes! (*snicker*)

    Reply
  • Dee April 16, 2012, 9:00 pm

    A cup of hot water with fresh lemon juice squeezed in, first thing on an empty stomach, and give it about 30 minutes then have something to eat. Works like a charm for me every time!

    Reply
  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 16, 2012, 9:38 pm

    Love that you cover these kinds of topics, because they are so important! I definitely anticipate going before I go out for a long run, but I’ve been finding with my toast, almond butter, and banana about an hour before the run, I’ve had no problems. Thank goodness :)

    Reply
  • Angie @ Pint of Goals April 16, 2012, 9:43 pm

    Great topic for conversation! Like many other runners, I eat toast with peanut butter and a banana an hour before the run. I also drink at least one cup of iced coffee with milk while sitting butterfly-style (maybe helps relax things?) catching up on blogs.

    Reply
  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy April 16, 2012, 10:05 pm

    Green tea with lemon, and oatmeal. I have tummy issues, and this is what seems to work for me. I also take a probiotic every morning, as soon as I wake up.

    Reply
  • Claire April 16, 2012, 10:15 pm

    Pre race nerves always means I never have a problem on race day, if you know what I mean. My problem is my regular training runs every day of the week. I make sure I always know where the nearest loo is so I can detour if necessary. I’ve had a couple of very close calls and it is horrible! I wish I got nervous before every run not just races.

    Reply
  • Jen April 17, 2012, 12:57 am

    When I first saw the title of this post, I actually thought that it was going to be about getting motivated to move (as in EXERCISE), then thought to myself “Heehee…it sort of sounds like she is talking about going to the bathroom.” Turns out it WAS! Ahahahaha…I seriously love this blog. :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:34 am

      Hahah you can always count on me to talk about the potty. Thanks :)

      Reply
  • Laura WL April 17, 2012, 1:47 am

    I definitely get the nerves before long runs, so #2 is never a problem. I also think travelling to and from the race site helps in that if I don’t go before I leave I ALWAYS have to go after I get there. Usually when I run long runs any urge to pee goes away completely (the jostling doesn’t make me have to go). I recommend coffee and fiber rich foods like peanut butter but not TOO much. Dried mango before a run gave me diarrhea afterwards once. :-(

    Reply
  • Kerry April 17, 2012, 2:47 am

    When I quit drinking coffee I discovered that my body was so used to depending on coffee to do the job that I needed to find something else that would work!

    I suggest eating a piece of fruit, like an orange, as soon as you wake up. This gets the body’s systems going and works for me when I need to make sure I am all taken care of before leaving the house!

    The other thing is that I think our bodies, if we are treating them right and eating well, get onto a schedule… so if you can adjust your schedule to make sure you go #2 in the mornings then this whole fruit thing just helps move things along.

    Reply
  • Emily April 17, 2012, 5:11 am

    I can’t speak as a normal person, but surely routine is the way to go? Bowels are all about learnt behaviour and doing the same things every day. I read somewhere that most people poop within the same 30 minutes window every day.

    I have Crohn’s disease so can’t claim to be anything like normal. Going is never a problem, and never a guarantee of not needing to go again. So my advice would be to stick to your routines (or if a race doesn’t fit your routine, build a new one to fit it the week before) and then relax about it. Sometimes we have to accept that what will be, will be.

    And if you’re like me, just keep an eye out for where the nearest toilet is. You’ll never know when you might need it :).

    Reply
  • m April 17, 2012, 6:59 am

    Breakfast definitely helps… the simple act of eating actually moves your digestion system along (I could get more into the specifics, but will spare this board). If that doesn’t work, I’d probably jog in place a little and then just, well, go for it. Maybe bring a magazine in to relax you so you aren’t stressing about “I gotta go!”. I used to use caffeine, but now that I’m pregnant, that is no longer an option.

    Caitlin, I had a question about the think thin bars, I was about to buy one after hearing your review when I was in the store and needing a quick snack, but saw they have sugar alcohols in them? I know you don’t often talk about fake sweetner and what not on your blog, but is that something you usually consume? I am in NO way saying if its good or bad for you (I don’t truly know) but that has been something in the past year I tried to cut out and am curious your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 17, 2012, 8:35 am

      I have never investigated this at all – I’ll look into it!

      Reply
  • Nadiya April 17, 2012, 7:43 am

    OMG! I was dying for someone to make a post about this lol! I very often get the urge to go run to the washroom during even 7km runs. Personally I noticed that not having dairy for breakfast really helps with that :)

    Reply
  • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 17, 2012, 8:24 am

    I’ve never had a problem going before a race. I tend to feel nervous which tends to speed up my digestive system and make me go go go (like 5 times within an hour and a half!) TMI?
    I have fond memories from high school xc of my team all going into the woods before a race and scattering to individual bushes to ‘take care of business.’ The lines at the port-a-potties were just too long!

    Reply
  • Lee April 17, 2012, 8:35 am

    Coffee.

    Reply
  • R April 17, 2012, 11:09 am

    This post totally cracked me up. I always try to go before a race or run. The worst for me was a half marathon where it was all I could do to get across the finish line before “it” hit. My sister ran with me and had the same issue. We both made it to the potty and still laugh about it to this day! Good times. : )

    Reply
  • Chelsea April 17, 2012, 11:35 am

    Pooping horror story…I was running around my neighborhood once and was like 1 mile away from my house when I HAD to go. It was either start walking home and not really “run” a 5k distance. There was a house with an open gate and no cars out front…Yeah, I pooped in their backyard bahahahah. I HAD TO GO! Hopefully nobody goes back there.

    Reply
    • Eliza April 22, 2012, 5:29 pm

      Not cool.

      Reply
  • Amber K April 17, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I know it’s gross to a lot of people, but my best friend and I talk about our poop far too often. We both have digestion problems and problems with knowing when information is too much… ;)

    Reply
  • Lauren April 17, 2012, 1:32 pm

    Take 200mg of pure magnesium before you go to bed. Works like a charm ;)

    Reply
  • Leslie April 17, 2012, 1:39 pm

    I already knew how to poop.

    Reply
  • Kerrie April 17, 2012, 5:14 pm

    My girlfriend taught me this and I thought she was crazy but it works. Sit there and it will come. Grab an magazine or iphone to occupy the time, sit and relax…and it comes. Soon enough you are just trained to “go” when you get up in the morning. Most days I make it through my coffee but some days I’m ready as soon as I get up!

    Reply
  • Anna April 17, 2012, 5:26 pm

    I was so excited to see my question on the blog! Thank you and everyone else for the advice!!

    Reply

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