Running on Bad Stomachs

I don’t know about you but normally when I run the only problems I have are my injuries (hamstring, si joint, knee, foot). My stomach is pretty happy even on long runs but we all have bad days (or weeks), right? This seems to be the week of running on a bad stomach. Now, it could be the ice cream I’m eating….yeah, I’m lactose intolerant but really I don’t think it’s that.

Last night after I coached both girls at soccer and got them to bed, I went for a short run. It was super hot and my stomach wasn’t happy for the last half of the run. Luckily I made it home and we have a bathroom very close to our side door I could quickly run to. Sunday’s long run was almost as bad.


Sunday Runday Stomach Problems

This week I wasn’t messing around with my alarm clock like I did last week. I set it and tripped checked it before I went to bed. We just got home from vacation late Saturday afternoon but I planned to get my long run in Sunday morning. I’m having to switch up the day of my long runs due to our family schedule etc., which is fine by me.

4:17 AM – Awoken by Hilary…“Mama, I have to pee!”…why can’t she ask for “Dada” at that time of night 😉 She pees and goes back to bed. I get back in my bed and lay awake for a bit and fall asleep.

5:40 AM My alarm goes off and apparently I hit snooze and it went off again at 5:45 and I was still in bed. I get up and do my thing to get ready. I had set out all my clothing and gear on the kitchen table and had to sort through what I want to wear. I grabbed a bagel with peanut butter and got my Nuun ready to go. This is going to get a little personal…I’m the type of runner that prefers to use the bathroom (yes, #2) before I run. It just makes life that much better when you are running for 1-2 hours or more….ya know! Now that we’ve got that cleared up…I couldn’t poop before my run, frig!

6:25 AM I headed outside to set my Garmin and started running a minute or two later. There was an awesome breeze in the 17C weather we were having…it was AMAZING to run in such cooler temps that my pace picked up a lot. I literally had to slow myself down as 17k wasn’t going to come easy if I didn’t (plus I hadn’t pooped).

My stomach was feeling fine until the 5k mark and it gave me a few warning signals. I scoped out a wooded area to do number two but decided not to as that feeling quickly passed as I got closer. “I’m good”…I told myself and kept running.

After 6k, I ran up a good hill that I now love (hated before) and kept going, all while scoping out the woods around me to find a spot just in case I really had to go. I was back to running on the sidewalk next to the highway and was fine. Hill after hill, I kept going and had some minor stomach aches but not REALLY needing to use the bathroom. I hit the half way point and turned around.

My pace felt great but looked slow on my Garmin. My legs felt strong as I was able to push myself a little faster and propelled myself up the hills and long inclines. I met up with an older couple who cheered me on “you go girl” was what the man said to me, I laughed. I went back up the same big hill and scoped out the woods again…I could go there, or there, or there. {Always have a place to go} But I didn’t need to go.

I met up with that same couple again as they were heading in the direction I needed to go to get home and we exchanged some words. Only 5 more kilometres to go, I can do this….my stomach can do this.

Shit…I’ve got 5 more km to go…my stomach doesn’t feel good and I’m in the busiest section on my run. Just make it to Tim Horton’s and use the bathroom there….buy a Timbit on your way out the door the sugar rush will help you, I thought. However, as I approached Tim Hortons I felt fine and there was NO traffic on the highway. This meant I could cross at any point and avoid stopping at the cross walk. So, I did.

As I approach 3 km from my house, I start thinking of alternative routes. Should I go the quickest way home or stay true to the 17k distance that I wanted to run. Around 15k, things started to go downhill with my stomach and walking wasn’t helping so I kept running. I nailed the last hill into my subdivision and needed to walk. SO.CLOSE.TO.HOME….keep our shit together (literally).


My pace increase once again and it took everything in me to finish 17k without shitting my pants. So, I walked for a few steps when I’m pretty sure my body knew how close I was to my house and things started moving fast. SHIT…I thought (not literally but kind of)…I need to get home FAST! I was about 200 meters away from my house and started running again (Garmin was turned off at this point so those 200 meters didn’t count, right?).

It was like a sprint to my driveway since my body had a mind of it’s own at this point..screw your cool down. I ran in the driveway, opened the door, dropped my hydration belt and walk as fast as I could through our mud room to our basement bathroom trying not to wake anyone in the house.

8:40 AM No one in my house was up or they were being very quiet upstiars. Thankfully, I made it to the toilet in time! Relief in so many ways! (I can’t even believe that I’m writing this blog post). I went outside to cool down as I looked like I jumped in a sprinkler and was dripping in sweat. It was now 23C and I finished my long run without shitting my pants. It sure gave new meaning to the word “happy runner”.

Have you ever shit your pants running?

Do you scope out places to “go” on your long runs?

What do you do when your stomach isn’t feeling great on your run?




19 thoughts on “Running on Bad Stomachs

  1. This is my biggest fear running. I always joke that my main race goal is not to shit my pants. My boyfriend always made fun of me for it until one night he decided to run after having a burrito AND ice cream. Needless to say, he gets it now. Haha

  2. YES! Love this post. Nothing worse than not being able to go before a long run… and the FINAL SPRINT home when you know things are about to moooooooove! I know these feelings all too well!! I’ve been known to sprint upstairs from my basement treadmill even for this very reason as soon as my run is over…. even the indoors isn’t safe sometimes! LOL.

    • Thanks! It’s like your body just knows you are “almost home” so things just start happening fast…you gotta run faster! My treadmill is conveniently located in the basement near our bathroom – not planned that way but it sure is handy!

  3. Hahahaha this is hilarious Anna! I think we’ve all had runs like this. LOL… runs…
    I had a fast and hard 10K after work yesterday and felt the same…. that “uh oh” feeling near the end. But then got home and nothing. So I wonder if the heat has something to do with it? Wreaking havoc on our poor intestines. It’s beyond me. I’m with you though, I need to hit the bathroom before my morning long run, or else it just doesn’t feel right.

    • I’m so glad I made you laugh because when I wrote this, I thought this was the funnest thing ever! The heat sure has been making running challenging lately! I loved my early morning run the other day mainly because it was SO much cooler. I’m sure we are going to have amazing fall races 🙂

  4. Hahaha – I think most of us have been in that exact situation. A few years ago, I couldn’t make it 1K without having the feeling that I needed to go – figured out that it was sorbitol. Now, race nerves get to me and I usually have problems on race day. I prefer to get things done before I run – usually why running in the morning doesn’t work for me.

  5. Oh my gosh this sounds so familiar! What I want to know is why is it possible to hold it all the way to the house, but once the house is in view your body is ready to let go???
    My most problematic place to run is up at our cabin in Quebec. You would think it wouldn’t be a problem with all the woods, except everything that isn’t a tree or a large bush is poison ivy. The ground is literally carpeted with it, right ot the edge of the dirt roads 😦

    • It’s crazy what your body does while on a run but when you get close to home it’s like a switch goes off and it’s just time to go! Poison ivy is no fun…watch out for that stuff!!! Or bring some TP with you 🙂

  6. I try to wake up almost an hour before a morning run to “get things moving”. It’s a pain (especially for early runs) but I need to do it.
    Thankfully I’ve never really been caught helpless out on a run. It did happen to my bf though and he had to hang in there for quite some time before getting to a bathroom.
    The struggle is real!

  7. I love this post. As a runner with serious GI issues, I unfortunately I run like this more than I would like. Sorry you had to suffer through that on a long run though. My long runs are usually run on an empty stomach.

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