Everyone poops!


But runners are the lucky ones who get to poop themselves on Mile 20 of a marathon.  :)  Or behind a bush on a training run.  Or in a disgusting port-a-potty.


Runners’ trots are just one part of the ‘gross’ side of running.  I can’t tell you how many e-mails I get about chafing, peeing, snot rockets, sweaty butt cracks, and more.  Ain’t no shame in the wonderful way our bodies function… but it is possible to minimize embarrassment.  And sometimes gross body functions are a natural way of your body saying something isn’t right.


Here are my solutions to the 5 Most Common Running Gross-Outs:


GROSS-OUT #1:  SNOT.  Oh, snot.  You are one of my least-liked things.  Snot is a huge problem during the winter because the cold weather makes your nose go drip, drip, drip… When is pretty cumbersome when you’re trying to run, run, run!


SNOT SOLUTION:  The snot rocket works wonders.  Place one finger over one nostrils, close your mouth, and breathe out through the unplugged nostril as hard as possible.  Aim to the ground and behind you (or you’ll hit your foot).  If you’re in a race, CHECK BEHIND YOU before doing a snot rocket.  I have been hit by strangers’ snot rockets and it is geee-ross.  Alternative to snot rockets:  wipe it on your sleeve.  Why do you think God invented long-sleeved shirts, anyway?


GROSS-OUT #2:  Number Two.  Literally – number two.  Runner’s Trots are a big problem for a lot of people.  Whether you’re suddenly struck with the urge to GO in the middle of a run or race or you get a nervous, grumbling tummy right before a long run, poop problems are embarrassing.   (Note: I am NOT pooping myself in the photo below.)


POOP SOLUTION:  The causes can be complex, but for most people, it boils down to fueling issues.  Part of your training is figuring out how to eat before, during, and after runs, because you’ll need to apply that knowledge to race day.  Different things work for different people.  I usually eat a peanut butter sandwich, a banana, and a cup of coffee an hour before a long run to give myself enough time to ‘go.’ Other people need more digestion time or have to eat a smaller breakfast and fuel more during the run with Gatorade or Gu packets.  And while I’ve never literally pooped myself, I have pulled off the side of the road and used a bush as a bathroom – hey, you do what you gotta do.  This Runner’s World article is a great read if you’ve already toyed with nutrition and still can’t figure out a solution.


GROSS-OUT #3:  CHAFING.  Chafing is probably my biggest gross-out issue.  I chafe like NO ONE’S BUSINESS during the summer because I am a very salty sweater when it’s hot outside.  Chafing hurts a lot and can actually sideline you for a few days if it gets really bad.  I am most prone to chafing around my sport bra and under my arms.  Other people experience chafing in between their thighs.


CHAFING SOLUTIONS:  I have tried Vaseline and Body Glide, which you rub into your skin to make it slippery and therefore less likely to burn as it rubs against your other body parts or clothing.  Chap stick also works well in a pinch (and is easy to carry on long runs).  However, I literally sweat through Vaseline and Body Glide if it’s very hot out, and I’ve discovered that lining my chafe areas with athletic tape works wonders (see above).  If you chafe in between your legs, wear spandex shorts underneath your running shorts.


GROSS-OUT #4:  BLISTERS.  Blisters must be avoided at all costs because the bloody, pussing sores can literally force you to quit a race.  Blisters can occur around the shoe or sock line, in between your toes, or on the bottom of your feet.    Note:  the epic blister below is actually Meghann’s blister.  She incurred it during a half marathon we ran together – I could not believe she ran through the pain.  I would’ve curled up into a ball on the side of the course and died.


BLISTER SOLUTIONS:  First, make sure you have properly fitting shoes and sweat-wicking socks.  If blisters persist, you can put moleskin (available in the shoe section at pharmacies or Target) over the troublesome spots.  Moleskin is thick and cushioned and works MUCH better than a band-aid.  You can also coat your feet in Vaseline before putting on your shoes and socks – it really helps!


GROSS-OUT #5:  Number One.  Oh, pee-pee.  I have the world’s smallest bladder and running a long race without taking a port-a-potty break to pee is always a challenge.  When I’m running really fast or hard, my body tends to think it’s OK to let go of my bladder.  However, I’ve only actually peed myself once (during this 5K).   Some athletes actually pee themselves on purpose – Frayed Laces refuses to get off the bike during Ironmans to pee, so she literally just pees down her leg (she’s so hardcore). At least peeing yourself is less embarrassing than pooping yourself, right?


PEE-PEE SOLUTIONS:  The cause of my bursting bladder during that memorable 5K was over-hydrating in the hour leading up to the race.  I was nervous and felt thirsty, so I slammed two bottles of water right before the race and didn’t pee enough before I stepped up to the starting line.  Hydration should occur EVERY DAY, not as a last-ditch effort before a race.  Now I drink two glasses of water before leaving the hour and stop drinking water an hour before the race.  And I always go to the bathroom one last time before the race starts!   Runners World has a great hydration section – as important as it is to hydrate, you can over-hydrate as well so being educated is key!


What is your best running gross-out story?  Do you have any other solutions for these common running gross-outs?  Holler if you’ve pooped behind a bush!



  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) February 3, 2011, 1:37 pm

    This post was so honest I sit here in shock. 😐

    Good, but crazy honest!

    I’m with you on the small bladder thing… I always have to make sure I go to the bathroom a couple times before going running on a treadmill (or running outside in the summer) because it seems without fail that within 5 minutes into my run I have to go to the bathroom! It’s something I never used to have, only in the last couple years! Aargh… mid twenties — my body is changing!

    • AJ @ Flowing to Fifty February 3, 2011, 8:46 pm

      Do you think men have this problem? Or is it just women? Wait until you’re in your forties!

      • Jon October 13, 2013, 6:17 pm

        I’m a guy. What brought me to this post is that I also have a huge urge to pee while running. I go before I run, but still have to go again by about the 2nd mile. I’ve never taken the “drastic” measures described above. What’s weird, though, is that when I reach the end of the run/race, the urge just magically goes away. For instance, during my last race, I was wondering if I’d make it to the end, looking over my shoulder to see if other runners were far enough behind me for me to stop at a tree, etc. Then when I went about an hour after getting home, I thought to myself, “wait…what’s the deal here? Why did the urge just go away at the finish line?” That’s happened a lot lately.

  • hippierunner February 3, 2011, 1:39 pm

    I have not pooped behind a bush but I may have peed my pants a bit during a track meet and a reeeaally fast mile where I pushed maybe a little too hard lol. Luckily it was barely anything but I did borrow a teammates sweats so no one would notice!

  • Anne February 3, 2011, 1:39 pm

    I totally have the snot issues. The other day I did a snot rocket, while on a long walk with the dog. I just couldn’t wait until we got home and didn’t want to wipe it on my new coat.

    • Lena February 27, 2011, 12:39 pm

      Try taking tissues with you…I always have the snot issue, so I carry around at least one tissue all the time. Has proven to be useful to avoid some embarrassing situations!

    • Jess December 29, 2012, 4:28 pm

      handkerchief !

  • Jess (Daly Authenticity) February 3, 2011, 1:40 pm

    You know, I really appreciate this post, and honestly I am going to show it to my husband because he cannot grasp the fact that people actually poop themselves during a race. HA. Since I am training for my first 1/2 marathon, some of these tips are really great! I have yet to figure out the whole nutrition/perfect pre-long-run fuel. I am hoping that as training goes along, I can get it down to a science. I have no gross running stories…YET. I hope I never do 🙂 (Although I know that’s wishful thinking)

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun February 3, 2011, 1:40 pm

    Seriously thank you for this post. I love when people post the real side to things like this. It helps so much! And its why I have done it on things like breastfeeding and pregnancy stuff.

  • Nicole February 3, 2011, 1:41 pm

    I just recently learned how to blow snot rockets–it has greatly improved my running experience.

  • Amanda February 3, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Haha in my family those bush incidents are called “road-sides”. Flattering right?

  • Kristy @ KristyRuns February 3, 2011, 1:44 pm

    I can’t blow snot rockets, so I blow my nose in my shirt sleeve or inside neck of my shirt. It’s gross, but I gotta get rid of it somehow! I need to learn snot rocket skillz. Would it be weird to practice this weekend? I think I know how to fuel my body after 8 marathons, so I don’t really have stomach issues anymore. Thank goodness.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) February 3, 2011, 1:44 pm

    The other day, I was running mile 4 of 5 and REALLY had to go to the restroom (fueling issues, I guess). Luckily, there was one!! I think I would have walked if I hadn’t found one.

    The grossest running thing for me is probably the toenail stuff. I think I’ve lost 4 or so, and have a chronically bruised big toe nail right now (thank goodness for nail polish).

    It was 35 this morning when I ran, so my eyes and nose started dripping like crazy! I ran with a small towel for that (and warmth), but sleeves are fine. A wrist sweatband would probably be a little more hygenic.

  • Alison February 3, 2011, 1:44 pm

    A few years ago we were cheering for my husband as he ran in the Army 10 Miler and some dude blew a huge snot rocket right next to my feet. As far as snot goes, I either tuck a tissue in my shirt or use my sleeve.

    I actually ran most of my marathon with a semi full bladder. I just did not want to stop to go. It made me almost wish I was a dude because they were off on the side of the road peeing left and right. Once my clothes are sweaty, it’s just too hard to get everything readjusted. Pulli

  • jen @ taste life February 3, 2011, 1:45 pm

    First of all, when I read that you were a salty sweater I pictured…a sweater made out of salt. Made me laugh.

    Second, the only issue I’ve really had a problem with is chafing. Oh, chafing. Especially in the sports bra area, ouch! Vaseline seemed to do the trick, though.

  • Amanda February 3, 2011, 1:45 pm

    This post is so great…thanks for sharing what others might be too afraid to ask about! I am from Lake Placid NY and we have an Ironman there every summer. The swim is in Mirror Lake (only 2.6ish miles around). They do the lap twice, and there is always a bit of hesitation going swimming in the lake after an Ironman. It’s referred to as a big toilet bowl…It really is a crazy small lake to consider 2000+ people in it at once!

    • Rae February 3, 2011, 2:12 pm

      haha, right on. I did IMLP this year and I was nervous to swallow that water 😛

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:17 pm

      Hahahah it’s a giant toilet bowl!

  • Natalia@ The Health Script February 3, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Can’t wait to read this post…after I finish lunch! 😉

  • Dori February 3, 2011, 1:46 pm

    My body’s response to nerves is to pee, so I can drink the same amount before a race as I do before a normal training run, but have to pee 6 times before the race starts. By the end it is just clear water, but my body doesn’t know that. Right before my first half marathon, I found a portapotty right near my corral for my 6th pee of the morning, and figured I’d be set for the race. Well right as the race was starting I had to go AGAIN — about 5 minutes after I left that last portapotty.

    As I passed every bathroom along the course I checked the line and they were always too long for me to be willing to stop. It got so bad that I actually did try to pee myself (running to the portapotty was fine but waiting on line would take so much of my time!) but my body would not allow it.

    Finally at mile 6, after an hour of this agony, I was back near the start of the race with a long row of portapotties. I lifted my shirt up as I ran towards it, wasting no time as I ran in, used it and ran out.

    Great post!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 3, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Thankfully I’ve never had to use the bathroom during a race. I’ve been afraid of it though!

  • Kelly February 3, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Oh man I get the worst chaffing between my butt cheeks! TMI? Soooo annoying. Having to poop while I’m in the middle of a race is one of my biggest fears.

  • Kim @ girlevolving February 3, 2011, 1:50 pm

    My very first marathon I finished with a blister over the entire ball of my foot (it popped at mile 23. I screamed.), blisters all over my toes, and a blood blister under my big toenail that, post-race, pooped and oozed blood and pus. I later found out I was wearing completely the wrong size and shoe for me…

    • Kayla February 3, 2011, 1:52 pm

      Wow! That beats out any blister I’ve ever gotten. It sounds awful!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:16 pm

      That is horriblee!!!

  • Kayla February 3, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Thank you for providing me a laugh at work this afternoon. 😉

    I just blew my first snot rocket ever last week — and failed. I got snot globs all over my fleece jacket and didn’t notice they were there until after I had stopped at the bank and everything… Oops!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! February 3, 2011, 1:52 pm

    I love, love, LOVE this post! These are all things that I struggle with, and I appreciate knowing that other people do as well! I have some major stomach issues and it’s taken me a year to figure out what I need to eat before, during, and after running to avoid the mad dash to the bush, Port-a-potty, etc. For chafing, I LOVE BodyGlide–it’s the wonder cure for my chafing issues (heart race monitor strap and bra straps). I’ve never actually peed myself while running, although I did pee in my wetsuit during my triathlon! Thanks for this awesome post.

  • Kara February 3, 2011, 1:53 pm

    My cold weather running gloves actually have a snot absorbancy area by the thumb. Perfect.

    I’ve done a squat or two behind bushes, but only if I’m running before the sun comes up. Otherwise I will just hold it, no matter what.

    I worked out through my whole pregnancy and I have to admit, you will pee yourself. You may not want to, but you will. Do some Kegels and after the 8lb baby head isn’t on your bladder anymore, it gets better 🙂

    If I need to pee during my marathon next month (small local race with not many pit stops), I totally plan on peeing myself and calling it sweat.

  • Blake February 3, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Have you read this article from ESPN magazine (October) http://deadsp.in/dgzpNF ? Paula Radcliffe pooped in her hand. (There was a picture of the occurence in the issue.)
    Anyway- EWWWWW!

    As far as snot, I’ve found that wrist sweat bands work wonders to wipe snot on. Just make sure to wash them with your running clothes!

  • Parita@myinnershakti February 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    You are awesome for talking about something most people probably think about but don’t talk about. Hy, we’re all human!! I think peeing is the one thing I’m still trying to figure out because I too have a small bladder. It’s so annoying! I will take your tip into consideration before my next long run. 😉

  • Beth February 3, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I’ve never actually had a #2 accident, but it’s been close. Good thing my gym is on my normal long run route!

    When I was running the WDW half I thought I was going to have an issue. I would pass a set of port o pots then think I had to go, only to be okay by the next set. I made it to the end then beelined for the pots. Something tells me I wasn’t the only one!

  • Jess February 3, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Have you seen these? I love them.


  • Carly D @ CarlyBananas February 3, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Last summer I did the Couch to 5K program and was so excited to run my first 5K. Of course, the week before I got a horrible cold. I was stubborn and despite feeling so awful that I couldn’t eat, I decided I would run the race anyway (by the way, this was an evening run so we’re talking no food all day). I definitely had to snot rocket a few times, but apparently a lot ran down my throat because after, I threw up EVERYWHERE. So embarrassing!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:15 pm

      I puked after a 10K – so embarrassed! Hope you have replaced it with better 5k memories 🙂

  • kate February 3, 2011, 2:01 pm

    just read this while eating lunch…not the best idea! haha

    i love to run but my main sport is rowing and it is the WORST sport for blisters…my hands literally look diseased…but i’ve found the BEST way to cover/heal them…SUPERGLUE! It doesn’t sting like second skin, doesn’t rub off, and i’ve found that my blisters heal so much quicker then if i just put a band aid on…I’ve tried it for running too because i get bad blisters on my arches and it works like a charm every time!

  • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment February 3, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Caitlin! The way that my IRL runner friends talk, I had halfway convinced myself that I am the only one who ends up chafed, snot-nosed AND bleeding by the end of a good workout 🙂

    In high school, we used to have to run the mile every week, and if we didn’t cut time by a certain amount, we got a zero for the day. One day I forgot and wore tennis shoes — my feet looked like they’d gone through a lawnmower by the time I was done 🙁 To make it even worse, my PE teacher didn’t care and gave me a zero for the day because I was 10 seconds too slow!

    Another thing that helps with chafing in a pinch is powder-based deodorant, like Secret. I always keep some in my purse/bag/car, because the powder helps keep everything from rubbing incessantly. Works great for those hot days while wearing a skirt!

  • Laura @ Backstage Pass February 3, 2011, 2:04 pm

    LOL – you went there! How refreshingly honest 🙂 You’ve offered some great advice here. Very useful info for a topic that most people are afraid to discuss!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 3, 2011, 2:04 pm

    OMG this post made me laugh so hard! Thank you for being so open and willing to discuss these lovely topics Caitlin! I’ve never had any super gross-out running stories, but I have had some really bad blisters which I handled by covering with a band aid ‘pillow’, and after running, I let it air dry. Unfortunately this was in the summer and my feet were NOT looking very attractive in my sandals!

  • Wendy February 3, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I’ve also pooped behind a bush AND peed myself in a race! You are not alone! However, I am sleeve-wiper, I just can’t bring myself to do a snot rocket or “farmer-blow” as my dear farmer husband calls it. 🙂

    Awesome post – thanks for your honesty!

  • Kiran February 3, 2011, 2:05 pm

    All great advices. I hate the gross outs! It’s a put off during runs 😀

  • Ali February 3, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Love this post! Awesome, funny and so true!

    I had a #2 accident, when I was on vacation in Spain – cringe! I was running along the road beside a beach where there were no bushes! So I deeked into a gas station bathroom, took my shorts off, washed them, and ran back to my hotel with wet shorts. Awful!

    I’ve found the best solution is to limit my fiber (no bran!) the day before running. I think this is a really individual thing. I’m a frequent #2er, so it really matters!

    I must admit I also used thin bladder control liners when running (after having my daughter) because my pelvic floor was mega weak for awhile and I had leakage!

    Thanks for this post…it’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:14 pm

      I can’t believe that happened to you in Spain.

  • KitKat @ Pursuit of Happiness February 3, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Omg, I am laughing so hard reading this! These are SO true. I have the biggest issue with snot when I run in the cold, or really any time. I always start with tissues but then end up blowing it into my sleeve. This makes for an awesome section of my shirt at the end of the race.

    I think the worst though was during my first tri there were NO bathrooms during the running section and too many people to pull over…I just peed down my leg. Luckily some nice guy was holding a sprinkler out on the street because it was such a hot day and I ran through and rinsed myself right off.

    It’s funny (and gross) how something I would NEVER do normally in public is just perfectly acceptable during a race.

  • Lisa February 3, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Oooh that blister photo makes me cringe!

    I never got the runner’s trots. But I ALWAYS got the pre-race nervous bladder. Seriously could pee like 10 times and still have to pee. What the hell?

    I once almost got snot-rocket-ed on by a guy on a bike who was passing me as I ran. Not cool.

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) February 3, 2011, 2:11 pm

    This definitely does not make running sound all that appealing!!! None of these disgusting things have happened to me, but if they ever do I’ll be ready. I think men’s bloody nipples are the pretty nasty too. Do women get bloody nipples? AGH! So GROSS!

    • Katie @ cooklaughmove February 3, 2011, 2:30 pm

      I think a sports bra helps against bloody nipples! In pictures from my half-marathon the guy finishing right behind me has the nastiest bloody nipples, totally ruined my pictures!

      • Halley February 3, 2011, 3:41 pm

        Ew!! It reminds me of an episode of the Office, when they run a 5K for rabies, and Andy starts bleeding from the nips.. You could photoshop some happy faces over the guy in your pics!

    • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment February 3, 2011, 2:35 pm

      I TOTALLY think the sports bra helps — my boyfriend just decided to take up running so that he can run a local 5-miler with me in June (Brewery-sponsorship seemed to switch him from “Oh running? No way” to “FREE BEER! I’M IN!” pretty fast). While I’m worrying about shin splints and negative splits, all he cares about is buying nipple tape. The sad part is he’s going to smoke me, anyway!

      • caitie February 3, 2011, 10:42 pm

        Ahhh just wanted to say I’ve never met another Caitie with their name spelled like mine!! So excited. My full name, Caitlin is the same as yours too!! (And Caitlin HTP of course!)

        • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment February 4, 2011, 11:04 am

          That’s so funny! I’ve never “met” as many Caitlins that spell it this way, or other Caities, until I started blogging 🙂 Even my own MOTHER doesn’t spell Caitie the way I do… she’s constantly forgetting the first I! I guess that’s what I get for letting people shorten it once I got older (I’ve ALWAYS gone by my full name)!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 3, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I Love this post.

    I have a big issue with number 2, especially in the morning, and it’s one of the main reasons why I like to do long runs on a treadmill.

    Chafing is another one. I have to wear pants to run because even bicycle shorts won’t cut it for these thunder thighs.

  • Kelly February 3, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Ok, so I’m not a runner, but my husband has started running. He ran outside in the summer, but we recently bought a treadmill so that he could run inside during the winter.

    Here is my question to you: When he is running on the treadmill, he burps. Like, a lot. Like 5 or more times in the half hour that he is running. I have no idea if this happens on his outside runs or not. Have you heard of this before? Is there a way to prevent it?

    Note: I don’t think it really bothers him, it just grosses me out! 🙂

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:13 pm

      Check out that link I put up for Runners Trots, it handles this exact issue! 🙂

      • Kelly February 3, 2011, 10:26 pm

        That is really helpful, and interesting, thanks!!

  • Devon @FastFoodie February 3, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I was barfing and running during my marathon this weekend. That is pretty gross. Thankfully there wasn’t in my stomach to come up. I think I had a stomach bug or food reaction as my stomach was off for days. Thankfully, even though it was a big marathon, I was running pretty much alone and didn’t have to gross anyone else out. Slowed me down a bit though!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 3, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I love this post Caitlin! Definitely so true! (Although I still can’t do a snot rocket!… I’m not sure if that’s good or bad?)

  • Amanda @ JustAmandaJ February 3, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I love honesty posts! I never knew about the #2 accidents while running until I read something you mentioned a while back before. I just don’t know if I could go in the bushes though! I have a hard enough time going in a porta potty :/

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? February 3, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I love you for posting this.
    Having to pee is my BIGGEST issue. I drink so damn much water that I always have to go, and when Im running its my biggest fear. I make sure to pee at least 3 times before I walk out the door. The good news is that right now, the area I live in isnt fully developed so theres pretty much constant construction going on. Meaning lots of port a potty’s on my running routes. 🙂
    That also eases my mind about the #2 issues. Im careful about that though, because Ive had that issue mid run before. Its not a happy problem, so I make 100% certain I do not have to go before I leave the house. Thats just a nightmare.

  • Rae February 3, 2011, 2:14 pm

    lol, love it!!!

    For peeing…I have to tell you that Frayed Laces is right on….being able to pee on the bike is a badge of honor for a triathlete. If you ever do it, make sure to chase with water though so you dont get a rash!!

    For “#2” I dont endorse this for training, but before a long race (marathon, half iron, ironman) I take an immodium. Its insurance and it has always worked for me!1 For training..Ill take the bushes.

  • ashley February 3, 2011, 2:14 pm

    haha, I LOVE EVERYTHING about this post. Another rec. I have for blisters is rubbing Body Glide all over your feet before you put your socks on. I used to get blisters everytime I raced and haven’t had a single one since I started doing this. Also, I’ve had ahem, #2 issues, (esp. during that time of the month) and if you’ve been having stomach upsets I fully recommend packing immodium with you in your pouch/pocket/etc just in case of an emergency during a race.

  • ashley February 3, 2011, 2:15 pm

    oh too funny, just noticed the person above me said the same thing about immodium. it works!

  • Melissa R. February 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I do the “blow and throw” instead of a snot rocket. It’s GROSS but it works! I just have to remember not to do it when I’m NOT running (seriously! how’s that for nasty?)

    I’ve never pooped my pants during a run but I have stopped and peed/pooped behind a bush during a run.

    I get HORRIBLE chafing as well and body glide only lasts so long on me, too. The worst chafing I ever had was on my lady bits. I don’t know who was more upset, me or my husband! Turns out that diaper rash cream took care of that immediately!

    • Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances February 3, 2011, 2:26 pm

      I also use this method! I was thinking Caitlin was so demure for her snot rocket ways.

      Another gross thing about running not mentioned is acid reflux. I get it whenever I eat something with pesto – weird but true. Same with Indian food. I AVOID running after eating Indian food.

    • Katie @ cooklaughmove February 3, 2011, 2:27 pm

      Sometimes I have to remember not to blow a snot rocket when I’m at the gym!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:13 pm

      Blow and THROW?!?!?! EWWWWWWWW

      • Melissa R. February 4, 2011, 7:49 am

        sorry for grossing you out… 🙁 Now I feel bad about saying anything..

        • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 9:51 am

          Hahah I cannot be grossed out!

  • Laine February 3, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I’m a hiker, not a runner, but we have similar issues.

    For snot, I clip a piece of flannel to my back pack strap for on the go nose blowing.

    Pee: squatting in the woods works. My system is set up to not need to poo in the woods. But the squat would work for that, too. My poor dad had hiker’s trots on one trip… not fun.

    Chafing: I need to wear long enough sleeves so that the back pack strap doesn’t chafe.

    Blisters: either blister socks or vaseline pre-hike.

    My favorite thing is the post-hike change in the parking lot: I have a lululemon skirt/dress that covers the bits that need covering while I get out of all the sweaty gross things I’m wearing for a fresh and clean drive home. My hikes improved 100% when I started changing my clothes after them.

  • Ashley February 3, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I like that you’re showing the nitty gritty side to running and how to deal with it!

  • Amanda February 3, 2011, 2:21 pm

    Love the honesty in this post!! Before running a race last spring, I was trying to get my looming #2 out of my system, but just couldn’t make it happen. I was so nervous at the beginning of the race, and during mile 2 … I knew I wouldnt make it the other 8 without stopping. I had to wait in a portapotty line … all in all it took about 4 minutes off my time, but I felt SO much better. I think it had to do with eating whole wheat pasta the night before – I’ve heard that white starches are much better.

  • ashleigh February 3, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Note: I am NOT pooping myself in the photo below –LOL!!!!!

    I suffer from a nervous stomach/ IBS, so I always have to take pepto bismol or imodium before races! I found this out the hard way… I missed the beginning of my very first race because I was using the porta potty for the 5th time! Luckily, once I started I felt better but now I know pepto is my friend!

  • Carpensm @ A Life Without Ice Cream February 3, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Oh man this post made me laugh!! I have wondered some of these things for sure as I’m starting to run a lot more and a lot longer. I’m also always a little nervous about the #2 on runs because I already deal with IBS and I’ve heard horror stories from other runners 😛

  • Jen February 3, 2011, 2:24 pm

    It is so true that running brings out the grossness of us all. I have found this winter that my nose runs constantly. I have wiped my nose so many times with whatever I have with me – my sleeve, my mittens, my neck gaitor. My husband told me that some running gloves are made with a fleece section around the thumb just for snot. 🙂 So, I looked at my running gloves, and low and behold, there was that little fleece section! But here in Maine, it has been too cold for gloves and I’ve been wearing my mittens!

    I’ve also had to go #2 during a long 12 mile training run. It was mortifying! We were on a trail without porta potties. So I went behind a rock (a huge one). The ground was covered in snow, so I had to use that! So cold!!!!!

    • Shannon February 3, 2011, 2:35 pm

      Try socks on your hands…seriously works great for wiping your nose!

      • Jen February 3, 2011, 5:22 pm

        Great idea!!!! Thanks Shannon!

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove February 3, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I’ve pooped myself on a run! I didn’t even realize it until I got home! It seems like every run I have to poop at some point, sometimes it goes away and sometimes I cut the run short and resume after doing business!

  • Amanda February 3, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Oh the things I have to look forward to when I start going farther and farther! The comments are humbling : ) bodily functions stop for no-one!

  • Courtney February 3, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Awesome post! Oh, the things I have to look forward to! I am training for my first half marathon, and these tips will soooo help.

  • Sarah for Real February 3, 2011, 2:32 pm

    What a delightful post to read as I eat my lunch. Thanks!

  • Gracie (complicated day) February 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of runners who suffer cramping, abdominal pain, and stomach upset with or without “trots” are NSAID-poppers. Many are injured or trying to stave off injury and are taking an anti-inflammatory pain killer. However, NSAIDS are injurious to the stomach and intestinal lining, and can cause pain, cramping, and bleeding. They should be avoided before running since they add stress to the already stressed stomach area, and since they also can lead to kidney damage if taken before a long run or race.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:12 pm

      Yup! Those things can really interfere with your body during heavy works. I try to avoid them now as much as possible!

      • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:12 pm

        *heavy workouts

  • Michelle@crazyrunninglegs February 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    ” Holler if you’ve pooped behind a bush!”

    This has to be the funniest thing I’ve read today. Seriously, I almost spit out water out while reading.

    I think I have a nervous bladder. Whenever I’m gearing up for a long run/race I have pee continuously. I really feel like I’m 8 months pregnant again. Sometimes it carries over into the run too and then it’s just really freaking annoying!

    I think I need to work on my snot rocket ability.

  • Jennifer @ Frost Bites February 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    Runner’s trot definitely is an issue for me. I’ve modified my diet just like you noted in your article especially no coffee before a run (which sucks) but it has helped. I’m glad you posted these gross-outs…so I know we’re not alone.

  • Shannon February 3, 2011, 2:34 pm

    One tip I have used for the snot issue is to wear socks on my hands in the winter in lieu of gloves. Then I can wipe my nose on my sock and wash it right along with my running clothes. Plus I am not sweating up gloves! Gotta love it!

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In February 3, 2011, 2:38 pm

    Love this post– super helpful as I start to do longer distances. I’ve recently started chafing right under my sports bra, and vaseline will be tried next time to see if it helps!

  • Errign February 3, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I am not hollering to say I pooped behind a bush, but just wondering – do you think you would be a less salty sweater if you drank more water/Gatorade? I know the times that I work out & am lower on hydration levels, my sweat is like itchy & burns a little because it’s so salty. Just a thought – happy almost Friday 🙂

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:11 pm

      Yup I always drink Gatorade during long runs in the summer and it DOES help a lot. But if I eat takeout or something the night before, its all over.

  • Eliz@The Sweet Life February 3, 2011, 2:44 pm

    That toilet paper shot is so, so cute!!!! Thanks for writing such a real post.

  • Annette February 3, 2011, 2:47 pm

    Wow, what a post! I have never number 2-ed behind a bush, but I have done the number 1 thing behind a bush during a marathon! It wasn’t too bad- but I just had to run off to a place no one could see (I am bashful and have a small bladder). Thanks for all the tips 😉

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) February 3, 2011, 2:53 pm

    Caitlin – I love your candidness. Probably my most favorite thing about you/your blog! And you are totally making a poop face in that picture 🙂 haha

  • Jennifer (keepitsimplefoods) February 3, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Hilarious yet informative post! I had a friend who had a serious bathroom prob while running. Luckily I have crazy calloused feet so no blisters. I never eat before a run, so no bladder issues. And, I don’t have chaffing issues with my clothes. Guess I’m lucky!

  • Jen February 3, 2011, 3:00 pm

    This is probably the best blog post ever!

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine February 3, 2011, 3:05 pm

    This post is so gross, but soo needed!! Thanks for addressing all these things! I have never had to use the restroom and hope to God I never do during a race. Thanks for the tips!

  • LIz February 3, 2011, 3:09 pm

    This post made me laugh out loud because it’s all so true!! Good to know everyone deals with the same stuff!

  • Danielle C. February 3, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Blister Tip: Band Aid makes their Advanced line Blister guard. It acts like a second skin over a blister to protect it during a run, I carry them in my pouch. I got a huge blister during a marathon a couple of weeks ago (it pushed my toenail off) I was running a couple of days later easily thanks to placing a blister guard over the sucker.

    Worst chafe ever for me was literally my BUTT CRACK. During a 22 mile training run it happened, I haven’t had it since (knock on Porcelain?).

  • anne February 3, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Great post! So glad to hear other people have the same issues.

  • Jazz February 3, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Havn’t pooped on a run yet, but I do seem to get gassy which can be embarassing at the gym… wonder if that is normal..

  • Brie @ Brie Fit February 3, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I have a voluptuous booty and my butt cheeks rub together and my butthole chafes when I run. It is awful.

    I also may win an award for the largest blister ever: http://thefitbride.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/vitamin-and-honeymoon-update/

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:10 pm

      You win!

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 3, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I have not pooped behind a bush — I have the opposite of runners trots. I just get unbelievable stomach cramps if I don’t fuel properly.

    There is a pic of you wearing a towel (?) showing chafe marks — is that other picture chafing?!?!?! I have never seen it that bad. Or is that a brown sports bra? Sorry I can’t tell for sure.

    Just yesterday I had bad gas on the treadmill (could not hold it in for the life of me) and the guy next to me lifted his shirt and plugged his nose. I was mortified!

    • Jazz February 3, 2011, 4:00 pm

      Ahh, glad it’s not just me! Gas attackers unite!

      • caitie February 3, 2011, 10:47 pm

        Hahahah omg embarassing and hilarious that the other guy plugged his nose. I also get bad gas and feel like im going to poo on runs (even short ones)! My mom tells me its probably because I just eat too much fiber

  • June February 3, 2011, 3:32 pm

    I have had to use the bush for a poopy doop ummmm…probably 3-4 times? something like that. that was always during training runs though and typically happens when its really hot out. I have only had GI issues once during an actual race (1/2 marathon; jan 2009 because i ate some peanut m&m’s along the course; BAD idea)

    I have indeed though, completely just pee’d while running; once during a training run for Chicago 2010 and it was about 90deg out and I had stopped at one of our water stops without a porta potty anywhere near so i just pee’d and then poured a couple cups of water down my shorts 🙂

    3 weeks ago during another 1/2 marathon it was pouring rain and it made me have to go pee, so i just pee’d while i was running.

  • Jessica February 3, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Nothing of value to add, except for this is awesome, even reading while eating lunch.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:04 pm

      Thanks Jessica 🙂

  • Lee February 3, 2011, 3:38 pm

    I always have to fart when I run. It’s kind of like everything gets shaken all around in there. Oh, why am I admitting this?

  • Jen @ Canoe of Life February 3, 2011, 3:43 pm

    I’ve had to go behind the bush once, but it was on a hike with my husband. We were out in wilderness about an hour out when the feeling hit me and since it wasn’t an option to wait I had to suck it up and just do it- thankfully my husband is understanding and stood guard for any other hikers in the area. Don’t worry I went in the bush a bit so as to avoid future hikers coming across it…

  • Mary @ stylefyles February 3, 2011, 3:52 pm

    This is a GREAT article and I love the photography (especially the first photo of you stretching with the TP between your feet). I stumbled over here recently (can’t remember where from) and red your response to the famous Marie Claire article. Looking at how fit, strong and healthy you appear in your running photo, I am shocked to believe anyone would ever dare characterize you as emaciated. Boo to that.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Thanks Mary. Boo to smear journalism!

  • Mary @ stylefyles February 3, 2011, 3:52 pm


  • rebecca lustig February 3, 2011, 3:57 pm

    just another reason I adore you– you speak of the truths and realities society often deems ‘taboo’ or ‘inappropriate’. facts of life is all it is!

  • ~Jessica~ February 3, 2011, 4:03 pm

    I can’t believe I’m posting this but I pooped behind a bush during my last marathon. I was so nervous beforehand that my stomach betrayed me bigtime. I alluded to it on my blog but never came out and said it because I was so embarrassed.

    Of those ‘issues,’ poop is my number one (hah!) enemy with snot being the second. Thanks so much for posting this because I was really ashamed about what happened and you’ve made me feel less alone about it.


    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:01 pm

      Everyone poops!

  • Ann @ Turbo Teacher February 3, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Very interesting post ~~ Love it!! 🙂

  • Michelle February 3, 2011, 4:07 pm

    omg this post cracked me up. I usually wipe my nose on my gloves (1.50 from Target). The other day on the bus I felt my nose running and had my hand halfway to my nose before I remembered that it was only okay when running! 🙂

  • Jamie February 3, 2011, 4:09 pm

    I was definitely drinking a green monster when I start this post… ewwwwwww!! Great tips but I could’ve used a little warning 😉

  • Michelle February 3, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Also, this post is the perfect example of why I love it here. Even though you’ve run 2 marathons you talk about poop and encourage running breaks..I’ve gone from not running at all to training for a half while reading you and feel like you’ve been relatable all the way! 🙂

  • greenbean February 3, 2011, 4:10 pm

    re: snot

    i carry a bandana on my hip, just tuck an end into the waistband of my pants or shorts, and use that. works wonders for snot and sweat.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:01 pm

      That is so much more hygienic.

  • Courtney February 3, 2011, 4:18 pm

    Oh gosh, #5 bring back XC memories. At the end of the races it’s tough to um… control yourself. Bring extra bottoms! 😀

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 3, 2011, 4:18 pm

    I think this is a wonderful post to show the less than glamourous – but oh so normal – sides of running!

  • Justy2003 February 3, 2011, 4:21 pm

    So this totally relates to this post although it’s not my blog. This is the funniest post ever and literally made me LOL the first (and second, and third) time I read it: http://www.seejessrun.com/?p=454

    Also, I recently saw this article, which describes many of the nastys of running: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2011/01/marathon_disgusting_pictures.php

    Fortunately, I have never had a pee/poo issue while running. Only thing is that sometimes I chafe which, while painful, isn’t as embarassing.

    • Justy2003 February 3, 2011, 4:22 pm

      Oh, correction. The snot thing gets to me too. It goes on my sleeve or glove. Snot rockets are not my specialty.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:00 pm

      I’ve seen that poop one before – gee-ross.

    • Jess February 4, 2011, 4:31 pm

      Haha I was wondering why I had so many hits from this site today. Nice! Man, that was a bad day…

      • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 5:29 pm

        Hahah now you know!

  • Laurab @FoodSnobSTL February 3, 2011, 4:23 pm

    losing your toenails is another bad one

  • Sarah February 3, 2011, 4:28 pm

    After our half marathon, I had some serious GI issues and had to stop at the bathroom something like 5 times in the two hours following the race. We had a long drive home and it was tough to ask my husband and friend if we could stop (again). Usually I have an iron stomach and though we’d gone that far during training, this was the first time I’ve had those problems. During the race I felt fine but after I stopped running was when it hit me. I did some research and figured it’s probably due to fueling. I took some Gu during the race (ate it very slowly since I’d never had it before and I know you shouldn’t try anything new during a race) and then I also probably ate too much too soon after the race. So the embarrassment doesn’t necessarily end at the finish line!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:00 pm

      We all learn those lessons the hard way! I learned not to eat Indian food the night before a race the hard way 🙁

  • mary (what's cookin' with mary) February 3, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Oh goodness!

  • Laurie February 3, 2011, 4:36 pm

    Thanks Caitlin for your honest ‘gross’ post! You covered things where no one else wants to go there! Its been fun reading other posters comments on what has happen to them! I’m not really a runner yet, but reading everyone else’s experience gets me prepare!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss February 3, 2011, 5:23 pm

    SO glad to hear I’m not the whole one with runner’s toots sometimes!!! haha And I’ve dealt with slight chafing with blister block. It works the same wau as Body Glide I’d assume. Anyway, I rub it between my thighs or around my bra line to help out.

  • Sara (Miles and Manhattan) February 3, 2011, 5:51 pm

    LOVE this post! Mainly the pic of you blowing snot 😉 hahaha

  • Natalia - a side of simple February 3, 2011, 6:09 pm

    A loud “Holler!” coming your way 🙂
    This also might just be my favorite post of yours ever.

  • maria @ Chasing the Now February 3, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Thankfully the only problem I’ve ever dealt with regularly is snot. It’s so annoying, especially in the cold. But the old sleeve trick does wonders.

  • Carla in Sydney February 3, 2011, 6:22 pm

    I always get a runny nose when I run….either from it being too cold out or too hot. I always run with one or two handkerchiefs or hankies (I hope you call them that in the States!)so that I can blow my nose when I need to. I just tuck them into the top of my running tights and do not notice them at all. If it’s just a short run, it’s one hankie or 2 for a half marathon.

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 3, 2011, 6:45 pm

    I have a tiny bladder, so I’m surprised I’ve never peed on myself! I actually ran a whole marathon without peeing… I think I was dehydrated!

  • Olivia February 3, 2011, 6:54 pm

    hahaha I love this post! Snot and having to go #2…or farting for that matter, are such common runners problems! so gross but at least it happens to everyone:)

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 3, 2011, 6:54 pm

    Haha I love this! I get runny noses from running all the time and my solution is usually just to wipe it on my sleeve. I gotta try out the snot rocket next time though. 😉

  • Lauren February 3, 2011, 6:55 pm

    Haha, these are so true!!!! When I battled with my Colitis in full swing, I had the number 2 problem quite often. It was truly awful. And today, I just noticed I was chafing on my boob. Gross!

  • Christena February 3, 2011, 7:11 pm

    Can I just say that you are awesome? What a well-written and tasteful post….why aren’t people more honest about these things? I peed myself during a half marathon once and stopped running for months because I was terrified that I had somehow damaged my bladder with all of that pounding…I thought there was something medically wrong with me and I was humiliated, even though it wasn’t obvious. Thanks for being so transparent!! Your blog is so encouraging.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:59 pm

      Thanks for thinking this was a ‘tasteful’ post LOL I thought I might be pushing it for a lunch-time post!

  • Julie @ Wearing Mascara February 3, 2011, 7:13 pm

    I just HAD to comment on this post because it’s VERY informative AND hilarious at the same time 🙂 Pretty hard to do and you did it. The pictures (especially the first!) are awesome!!!!

  • Hayley February 3, 2011, 7:13 pm

    You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:58 pm

      So are Y-O-U!!

  • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 7:18 pm

    Bodily Functions are the best! I actually have trouble running at all because it screws so much with my tummy! When I do run, I run on the treadmill and use the bathroom a lot (sorry everyone at my gym!).

    I like swimming because nobody cares if you pee in a pool or poop in a lake/ocean.

  • Kaitlin With Honey February 3, 2011, 7:22 pm

    I so appreciate that you’re not afraid to talk about the things that we’re all too embarrassed to bring up but really need to know about! Thank you so much, Caitlin!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 3, 2011, 7:37 pm

    thank you for posting about this all!!!! i feel sooo not alone anymore 🙂

    my situation is that sometimes no matter how i wear my pants, they always are going up my hoo-hoo and like “grab” me and it’s awful. Some days the seam is just in the wrong place, no matter what i do. Same pants, new day, new problem.

    I cannot believe i am typing this 🙂

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:58 pm

      You need loose shorts with built-in underwear!

      • Ashley @ Ashley's Adventures in Alaska February 4, 2011, 2:40 pm

        Do you not wear underwear when running shorts have them built in? I’ve been confused since buying my first pair and figure more coverage in some areas is better than none. 🙂

        • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 2:55 pm

          I don’t wear underwear under anything for working out, even if there are no built ins.

        • Ashley @ Ashley's Adventures in Alaska February 4, 2011, 2:59 pm

          Good to know! That just might reduce the wedgies. Omg am I 5 years old? I said “wedgies!”

  • m February 3, 2011, 7:38 pm

    Does anyone have a solution to the farting issue?? I swear I try to “hold it in” but it never works and I feel horrible especially because it sometimes happens at the gym – yikes! I try to jump off and run to a bathroom before the fart, but eventually its like “I’m either going to run and try my best not to fart or I’m going to spend every 5 minutes sprinting to the bathroom”…. even worse, has anyone had a yoga problem with um, queefing…. please someone tell me I’m not alone in this embarrassment!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:57 pm

      Just fart on the treadmill. As long as it isn’t smelly. Most people can only smell themselves anyway!

      • Orla February 4, 2011, 5:02 am

        How I wish that was true. Having trained with a couple of my brothers friends I can say that I could certainly smell them. And lets just say when they say the look of horror on my face they didn’t try and keep it in…. phew!

  • Peggy February 3, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I’ve found that that Number 2 is a hydration issue for me–training for my first marathon several summers ago, I stopped in the woods every.single.run over 5 miles or so (so, every.single.run). I even tailored my run routes to go through the woods 45 minutes in or so, because I knew I’d have to go!

    For my second marathon, things started out the same, but then I bought a hand held water bottle, and started drinking 20ish ounces on every weekday run (8ish miles) and 40+on my long runs, and the #2 problems STOPPED. Except once, when I had a big dinner and wine the night before. Whooops. Something to try.

  • SaraRM February 3, 2011, 7:58 pm

    I havent had the major #2 issue yet. I get the occassional “feeling” but normally its something that can be (cant believe im saying this)..gased out. I often feel sorry for anyone running behind me bc THAT does happen a lot :?! but its life and helps me run better after released.

    Im not grossed out by a lot but snot rockets make me cringe for whatever reason. Ill blow on my sleeve or glove all day long but can/will not blow a rocket ha. Wierd I know.

  • Marie-JourneytoBodyZen February 3, 2011, 8:14 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I have a major fear of pooping my pants when running! Glad to hear that others have done it and not died of embarrassment 🙂

  • Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles February 3, 2011, 8:20 pm

    For the record, you may have just typed the best thing I have ever read on a blog:

    “Note: I am NOT pooping myself in the photo below.”


    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:56 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit February 3, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Great post. I’ve definitely run a few races with some “stomach troubles” before I knew how to properly fuel my running habit and had to keep running after the finish line straight to the bathroom. Haha!

  • Raya February 3, 2011, 8:25 pm

    Ah, snot. It’s such a pain! Wiping your nose on your sleeve only lasts for a minute and then it’s right back dripping away again! I’m going to have to try the snot rocket!

  • LindseyAnn February 3, 2011, 8:29 pm

    Aren’t bushes just pretty, green, leafy portapotties? No. Hrm, I guess I was wrong then.
    I just can’t do a snot rocket. It’s certainly not a lack of trying, believe me, but I can’t do it. That being said, never ever ever ask to borrow my gloves.
    Those are some WICKED blisters!

  • Caroline February 3, 2011, 8:43 pm

    I don’t really have any gross out stories, but I have to admit that I kind of think of my nervous stomach as a good thing before long runs as it helps… well… clean me out and I never have a problem with proper runner’s trots. Weekly before chem lab, not so much, but before long runs I appreciate it.

  • sarah February 3, 2011, 8:46 pm

    I was hungover but went for a long run….I really needed to poop and had to sprint into a coffeeshop to use the restroom :O

  • Melissa @ TryingToHeal February 3, 2011, 8:49 pm

    you forgot farting. i feel like everyone finds that super offensive. i think it’s normal. lol!

  • Tara February 3, 2011, 8:50 pm

    One time as I was finishing a run, I needed to pass some guys on the boys cross country team. I went around the side of them on the grass, and one of them didn’t see me and spit. It landed on my shoulder. I just kept running past them as he shouted his apologies. I don’t know who it was more embarassing for, but I’m going to say him because he’s the one who spit on a girl and was passed by a girl.

    Also, I think I pooped/peed in every race I ran last year. It was totally unconscious too. It got to the point where I brought underwear to change into immediately after.

  • Jenifer February 3, 2011, 9:01 pm

    Last spring when my bff and I did a 10k, I had to pee so bad… we had about an hour before the race even started, I walked into one of the portapotties, gagged and walked back out. It was retched. I ended up holding it through the entire race, back to the car, until we stopped for lunch. Getting ready for my first half and I swear the pooping thing has me freaked out. I have poop complexes. I can’t go anywhere but home! So it will be interesting to see how I make it through the weekend as the race is out of town.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:54 pm

      Haha if you have a poop complex you will probably be fine!!! 🙂

      Good luck with your half!

      • Jenifer February 4, 2011, 9:29 am

        God I hope not! It’s stright down Va Beach Blvd…. no bushes, only palm trees. And hosted by Yuengling, lots of free beer going on in that area.

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) February 3, 2011, 9:42 pm

    I have been in many porta potties at cross country meets and they are disgusting! I still have nightmares about them.

  • Jenny February 3, 2011, 9:51 pm

    I admit to using super absorbent extra thin pads to handle the pee issue. What’s nice is that it absorbs enough (for me at least) and can quickly be tossed.

    Never had to deal with number 2, hope I never do! But I definitely get the toots 🙁 atcleast I’m silent!!!

    • Steph March 26, 2012, 11:38 am


      do you mean that you pee in the pad to avoid getting a squat in bushes ?

      I am curious to know cause it seems to be a good idea,

      french steph


  • Ellie@fitforthesoul February 3, 2011, 10:17 pm

    Is that pink part really your skin?! Or an undershirt? Sorry it sounds ignorant, but I’m not sure b/c it’s so unbelievable!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:20 pm

      On the right? It’s athletic tape!

  • Camille February 3, 2011, 10:21 pm

    Haha, I love this post! It is definitely a topic no one wants to talk about, but boy does it suck on race day!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) February 3, 2011, 11:06 pm

    Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww to the snot rocket!!!!! I just asked my husband if he has ever done that, and he said he has on his bike!!! Yuckkkkkkkkkkkkkk! I told him to wipe it on his sleeve next time 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales February 4, 2011, 12:20 am

    Ahhh I L.O.V.E. this post!!!!!!!! And I LOVED reading all of the comments. Yay for bodily funcitons!

    I have the pee problem all.the.time! Even if I go 5 mins before I head out the door, I always feel like I need to go one more time just in case I didn’t empty my bladder the first time. We’ll just say getting out the door is a process!
    Never had the poop issue though… but I have always been scared of it! Glad to know that it’s acceptable to just hide behind a bush. (Oh, btw, I’ve totally peed behind a bush. Multiple times. One time was even at a public library) I meeeean, ya gotta go when ya gotta go… right?

    Love snot rockets. But I also use my shirt, too. Let’s just say…I’m a hot mess when I get home.

  • Tao February 4, 2011, 12:45 am

    I’ve peed myself twice in marathons, who has time for a porta potty?! Luckily I was able to splash water from a water stop on my shorts and keep going. I often suffer terrible stomach issues during a race (fulls and halves) and despite pre-medicating (as I like to call it) with imodium and pepto (yes,I’m that girl drinking straight out of the pink bottle pre-race, nice to meet you) I’ve gotten struck with horrific cramps and (yes, I’m going there) bloody poop. I read an article about an ultramarathoner who had similar issues and it said this was due to extra blood going to the stomach? Does anyone else suffer from this problem? I don’t take any ibuprofen, etc. On a lighter note, I friend of mine once went into some bushes to poop during a training run and she was slightly up a hill while her running pals waited on the trail. Guess what rolled back down the hill right in front of her run group? Her friends now call her rolling poo.

  • Lindsay February 4, 2011, 12:54 am

    I might not have the worst “accident” while racing, but I have had a very embarassing incident. I was running a race in high school and I was very nervous before the race and I hadnt eaten much before running. I made it through the race, but I ended up passing out in my coaches arms as soon as I passed the finish line, couldnt make it through the “shoot” and when I came to I started throwing up all over my coach. It was horrible and I didnt know how to apologize! 🙁

  • Katie February 4, 2011, 1:52 am

    This was an awesome post! By the way, I read on the Runner’s World website that if you’re a salty sweater, it means that you are low in sodium. Because you eat such a healthy veg diet, you might be a little low in the salt department.

    • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 9:43 am

      Bring on the Chinese take out!

  • Flo February 4, 2011, 3:40 am

    I don’t run…and thank god I don’t you’ve put me off for life!!!! lol
    And as for the “snot rockets” I saw a man doing that once and spent the whole day gagging and wretching at the thought haha! You runners are MENTAL :S

  • Orla February 4, 2011, 4:57 am

    I have the pooping thing down to a t before my long runs. A large bowl of porridge and a coffee about 1.5 hours before I leave.
    As for snot rockets, I bring tissues with me. I have spend years watching rugby games and working with and riding race horses. You quickly learn to move rapidly when you see one coming your way. You only get hit once. It is gross….
    By far the worst thing about running is the lack of toenails. I paint my toenails before each race and it just isnt the same painting 9 toes (heading for 8 at the moment!)

  • sirenjess February 4, 2011, 7:52 am

    I ran the Houston marathon this past Sunday and got a blister from my sock due to the fact that it rained the entire race. It’s awful! But great advice about the socks and shoes. The sad thing is my socks were socks I always wear and my shoes as well. It just couldn’t be helped. And it’s still not healed.

    • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 9:44 am

      Wahhh! That blows!

  • Lily's Health Pad February 4, 2011, 7:56 am

    I’ve never pooed behind a bush…but I sure have peed! Sometimes you just can’t help it. I often pray no one I know has ever caught me popping a squat on one of my runs.

  • Amy February 4, 2011, 8:10 am

    Here’s a word to the wise: when making sure you are fueling up on Saturday for Sunday’s 20 miler, even if on the road wtih kids’ soccer games, birthday parties and practices all day and pressed for time, do NOT resort to eating 3 Fiber One bars to get the proper calorie intake, no matter how convenient. DO NOT.

    • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 9:47 am

      Major LOLs

  • Tina February 4, 2011, 8:28 am

    Best post ever.

  • Tina February 4, 2011, 8:29 am

    P.S. I wash my gloves after every run because they are usually covered in snot. It’s insane how much my nose runs during a cold run!

  • Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) February 4, 2011, 8:59 am

    ahhaah number 5.. i can totally relate…NOT THAT ive actually gone thru with it.. but VERY close..

  • Kathie @ Frugal Fit and Fabulous February 4, 2011, 9:22 am

    Love this!! I never even knew or thought of half of this.

  • Erica February 4, 2011, 11:40 am

    love this post! thanks for writing about running again- much appreciated.

  • Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 4, 2011, 2:55 pm

    I am training for my first race ever…a half marathon in June. Loved reading these tips…even if they scared me a little. 🙂

  • Kathy A February 4, 2011, 5:52 pm

    I am in my 40s and have given birth to 7 children and they are totally grossed out when I come home from a run and tell them that I have to get in the shower NOW because I had the trots again. I blame it on them of course. I pee myself quite often when I run also. I just don’t have the bladder control I once did!

    • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 5:54 pm

      You’re awesome for giving birth to 7 kids, running, and telling them to move because you have to get in the shower. lol.

  • jess @ upsanddownes February 4, 2011, 7:13 pm

    ok. there it is. all-time favorite htp (or maybe any blog period) post ever. epic, caitlin. epic. loved it! totally have #2 issues big time. I run around a river, so I’ve done bushes, porta-potties during boat racing season, convincing rowers to let me in their boathouse to “go”, you know because “from one athlete to another..” yada yada. love it. thanks for this post! 🙂

  • Olivia R. February 4, 2011, 8:01 pm

    I’m not sure if this is GROSS but I’ve had the hiccups a lot when I run! Also, phlegm (sp?). In the cold when I’m a little sick, I get really phlegmmed up in my throat and hack a lot on the side of the trail. Luckilly, I’m a nature trail runner and prefer it to streets and sidewalks so I can do it in private! hah.

  • healthy ashley February 5, 2011, 7:36 am

    I think having your menstrual cycle during a run/race deserves a spot on this list!

    • Nikole Hahn January 22, 2013, 2:33 pm

      My first half marathon and afterwards I had stomach issues and felt awful for hours afterwards because of Crohns and my period. That def earns a spot on the list. I hate running when I am on that time of month, but I do it anyway.

  • Becky February 5, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Love this post. I’ve definitely had to pee on a few runs, but usually I have other stomach issues post-run, especially long and/or fast runs – it sucks, but could definitely be a lot worse!!

  • linda@adventuresinexpatland.com February 6, 2011, 8:24 am

    Just love all the gross, gory discussion going on! Re blisters, back in East Coast US all I could find for our family (jogger, soccer player, cross country runner, tight new shoes wearer) was moleskin.

    When we moved to the Netherlands I found Compeed (comes in handy slim green case), and FELL IN LOVE. Clear thick ovals (different sizes), stronger and a more flexible than plastic, treated lightly with analgesic. You place on the blister or pre-blister area. It attaches tightly, almost like vacuum-packing, and stays on for 5 days even through showers. You can continue running, whatever.

    You’d think not getting air to the blister wouldn’t allow it to heal, yet it does. You carefully remove it and somehow it doesn’t rip anything open. Magic, pure magic.

    When I went back this summer for a visit I asked my running store about it, and they hadn’t heard of it. Folks, DEMAND (nicely of course) that your stores start stocking Compeed!

  • Brittany February 6, 2011, 11:35 pm

    I also have a really big chafing problem! What I like the least is the few days after the chafing has set in that it takes for it to go away! The best tip I’ve learned is to use vagasil! It is a little weird sounding, but it makes the chafing go away very fast. To prevent chafing, or when I feel it setting in I use gold bond foot powder (yes, I use this in between my thighs!) and it takes the moisture away and helps a ton. Hope this was helpful!

  • Kate February 27, 2011, 7:09 pm

    Omg I love this post!

    When I ran my fastest 5K, I literally crossed the finish line, relaxed, and my bladder just let go! I had to sprint to the porta potty! Also, this past weekend I ran my first marathon and I thought I pooped myself around mile 24 but I didn’t know for sure. Turns out it was just gas, but the whole last two miles I was mortified!!!

  • Carolyn L. May 4, 2011, 11:50 am

    A friend sent me this article after a particularly strenuous kickboxing class. It reminded me of this post of yours: http://www.cracked.com/article_19186_the-5-most-terrifying-side-effects-exercise.html.

    • Caitlin May 4, 2011, 12:48 pm

      Hahha that article’s captions were pretty funny.

  • Katie May 12, 2011, 12:23 pm

    Oh, there are some things I do not miss about running a lot! I always had TERRIBLE chaffing under my chest. I had to use water proof bandages to shower – OUCH! And I occassionally had the ‘I have to stop to go to the bathroom’ effect from running. And gas – which is SO embarassing if you’re in a gym and you just can’t help it. 😛

    • Caitlin June 11, 2012, 10:31 pm

      Oh gosh yes- I thought I was the only one!! When you’re running on a treadmill and trying SO hard to hold it in. Just awful.

  • Cathy August 5, 2011, 6:50 pm

    While I do run a bit (my second 5K is in two weeks), I am a hard-core cyclist. With snot issues. My son said it would be easier to learn to blow snot rockets, but the one time I tried it ended up all over my shoulder. I use hankies, the very thought of which I used to think sounded gross. But they’re cheap, washable, larger than tissues and don’t shred. When I ride it’s in my jersey pocket or under the thigh elastic; when I run it’s tucked into my waistband.

  • Michaela@PilgrimageOfHealth March 19, 2012, 12:23 pm

    I’ve definitely pooped outside on a run before! Something about all that movement really gets it out of me. Blisters too–sometimes I won’t notice until I get back and have bloody socks :/

  • ShaeLee April 10, 2012, 1:46 pm

    I ran the Disney Princess 1/2 in February and had to pee in a bush. I used 5 port-a-potties before getting to my corral but as soon as I started running, I felt like I was going to explode! Since the 1st p-a-p had a line a mile long (I’m exaggerating), I ran into a bush and my loving hubby blocked me from sight.

    Thyroid issues can hurt with pooping during a run. I just had my meds adjusted for hypothyroidism and took my synthroid 30 minutes before a run the other day. 3 miles in I started getting a cold sweat and by mile 4 I made an emergency call to my husband to come get me, LOL. I almost had a Bridesmaids moment in the street!!!!

  • Anna April 13, 2012, 11:44 pm

    So, 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(any way 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!

    • CaitlinHTP April 14, 2012, 8:30 am

      Learning how to poo before morning runs is part of your training plan 🙂 Hah.

      I’m going to make this part of my FAQ Monday post, so stay tuned!

  • Caitlin June 11, 2012, 10:28 pm

    The #1 cause of blisters for me, other than new shoes rubbing the back of my heel/ankle, is when the corner of one of your toe nails isn’t trimmed short enough and rubs against the other toe causing a blister. I was training and this happened and I bandaged it for a 10K and the bandage caused a blister against ANOTHER toe. I ended up stopping 4 miles in and ripping my sock and shoe off and removing the band-aid.

    Lesson learned: Always keep your nails trimmed.

  • Dude stud July 4, 2012, 2:26 am

    I literally pooped behind a bush.. I felt better and fyi im male

  • Kay Kay August 31, 2012, 6:36 pm

    Thanks sooo much! I was so embarrassed when I peed my pants during my first race! I wanted to go to the restroom soooo bad but I just had to push myself to finish that race.

  • Marathon Maniac October 14, 2012, 8:15 am

    Who was that amazing female long-distance runner in the 1980’s who completed a marathon even though she lost control of her legs and kept falling over and picking herself up in the final half mile or so, also lost control of her bowels and bladder?

  • MSrunner November 27, 2012, 9:22 am

    Oh my gosh I have a horrid story. Last night I was doing a light 3 miles with a friend. Well when we finished there was about a half mile walk home but my stomach was killing me. I said oh no but all there was was lit up yards and people were outside. My friend said lets just get back to the house.

    Needless to say, we didn’t make it back to the house. It just came out. Didn’t stop coming either. I was quite mortified so all we could do was laugh. My friend said lets walk home you can do it. I said no I do t think you understand this wasn’t some little release it was the mother load and not being containe in the confines of those thin running shorts. So I called me wife to pick me up and I hung on the back of the crv mortified.

    In a weird way I now feel like a real runner lol

  • Nikole Hahn January 22, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Peeing: I’m thinking for my first marathon to wear an extra absorbant pad so if I have to go and there’s no portapotty on the way then I can pee without peeing on myself. The advantages of being a woman, right?

    I’m doing a half trail run in March and they only have one place to go at the start/finish line. So I sent the embarrassing email to ask if it’s good ettiquette during a trail run to use a bush. They said as long as you don’t leave tp behind. Thanks for this column. It’s good to talk about gross stuff because it’s hard to bring this stuff up to experienced runners without blushing.

  • Linda February 24, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the great talks on the issues of runners, my husband runs and we have had to address all these things. Why can’t a man wear an absorbant pad????? Or do they an dnot tell???

  • Suniti June 24, 2013, 11:32 pm


    I found this article by searching “run marathon pee” in Google. Sooo… gather ’round, friends, and let me tell you a story. Last month, I was running a local 5K at 4:30 pm (hot) while listening to a podcast story of a man that just wanted to pee in his own toilet, but could not. As he described his agonizing circumstances, I realized I had to pee as well. Why?! I just did before I left home, and before the race started. I thought I could hold it…until the outdoor course turned off-road onto a scenic path next to a STREAM. AAAAAHHH! I dribbled as I jogged, drip, step, drip, step, emptying half my bladder into my Under Armour thong and C9 capris. Luckily, I was also wearing an athletic skirt over top it all, so my secret could only be discovered olfactorily. I kept going, determined to reach the portapotty at the end. I finished the race with a sprint and was going to cool down with a quick walk, but one of the race staffers insisted on getting my shoe time tag immediately, despite my protests. I couldn’t balance on one foot due to all of my issues, so she stopped me, bent down in front of my pee pants and untied my double knot for me, 10 feet from the finish line. Well, lady, if you want to smell my pee pants that bad, go for it. I made my way to the potty, but was stopped by another staffer who insisted I take a water bottle and banana half. It is against my good senses to eat a banana in the dirties place on earth, so I did a pee pee dance outside the potty while I inhaled it. Finally, I think I’m home free. I enter, survey the disgusting landscape and decide to “Finch” the toilet seat (cover it in a protective layer of TP) and while doing so, empty almost the rest of my bladder into my pants. I WAS SO CLOSE! I pull them down mid-stream and catch the final dribble in the potty. Sigh. So, now to pull up skin tight pants covered in pee onto my overheated body and drive home 45 minutes, sitting on an old sweatshirt I found in the back seat. Really starts getting stinky about halfway home. I sneak into my apartment and immediately shower.

  • Beth August 4, 2013, 11:56 am

    Ahhhh! Can I just tell you how amused I was by this 🙂 as well as informed!

  • Jonathon September 19, 2013, 9:14 am

    When I go running more than 5k I just put an Adult diaper on and problem solved. But than you get chaffing and rash but at least know one can tell..

  • Chris January 16, 2014, 10:02 pm

    I have always noticed, just as races are getting ready to start, there are always annoyingly long lines waiting at the new porta-potties that are provided. After the race starts, and the gun has fired, don’t be too worried about being at the front of the pack, and starting at the same time everyone else is heading off. If you’re running a chip timed race, and you’re worried about your time, missing the start of the race because you have to go to the bathroom will not affect your run time. Your chip only gets activated once you cross the starting line. Better to start at the end of the pack, and run well, than start with everyone else and have the constant annoyance of your bladder worring you for the first half of your race.

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