Cramping After Pooping During Long Runs

No matter how good I feel beforehand, if I stop to poop during a long run I almost always get debilitating side cramps afterward.

Any idea what causes this and anything to help prevent it? I almost always go before a long run but when I run double digit miles I sometimes have to go again late in the run and then I'm always shot afterwards.

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

This is definitely something you want to find a solution for! I would suggest that the first thing you look at is your diet in the hours before these runs – both what you eat and the timing, in an effort to eliminate the need to ‘go’ in the first place.

It is basically a case of taking it a step at a time, ruling out potential causes one by one.

The main culprit is likely to be the amount of fibre in your diet. So look at what you eat in the 3+ hours before a run. Is there a lot of fibre there, and if so, how can you reduce this?

We’ve had a similar issue to this with an athlete before who now sticks to white, refined foods before long runs.

So try plain white rice, and/or processed white bread as your last snack/meal before a run.

Aim to eat no closer than 3 hours before your run. If this helps but you feel you need to eat closer to the run then you can gradually bring this forward and monitor how you feel.

Same with the rice or bread. If you feel fine with this but get bored of it, you can gradually start to include things to flavour the rice, or different spreads on the bread, but do this a step at a time to make sure that nothing you add causes a problem – or if it does, you know exactly what the change was.

Another potential cause of the cramps could be over or under hydration. You want to be generally well hydrated before a run but not over-doing it. So don’t drink anything more than a few sips in the couple of hours before a run.

Again try this out on a separate occasion to altering what and when you eat.

You basically need to try different scenarios and timings to eliminate the potential causes of your problem until you hit on the one that works.

Good luck!

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