Runner’s Trots: How to Prevent Unplanned Bathroom Breaks During Your Run

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Runner’s Trots, also known as exercise-induced diarrhea, is a common issue faced by many runners. It refers to the sudden urge to have a bowel movement during or after a run, often leading to unplanned bathroom breaks. This uncomfortable and embarrassing problem can significantly impact your running performance and overall experience. However, by understanding the causes and implementing effective solutions, you can minimize the risk of experiencing Runner’s Trots. In this article, we will explore the causes behind this condition and provide you with twelve valuable tips to avoid those unplanned bathroom breaks.

Causes of Runner’s Trots

The exact cause of Runner’s Trots is not fully understood. However, several factors contribute to its occurrence. Here are some common causes:

  1. Increased Blood Flow: During exercise, blood flow is redirected from the intestines to the muscles, which can lead to digestive issues and bowel movement urgency.
  2. Mechanical Stress: The repetitive jostling and impact from running can stimulate the bowels and increase the likelihood of bowel movements.
  3. Gastrointestinal Motility: Intense exercise can speed up the movement of food through the digestive tract, resulting in loose stools.
  4. Nervous System Response: Physical stress and anxiety associated with running can trigger the release of hormones that affect bowel function.

Solutions to Avoid Runner’s Trots

While Runner’s Trots can be a frustrating problem, there are several strategies you can employ to minimize its occurrence. Here are twelve tips to help you avoid those unplanned bathroom breaks:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for maintaining healthy bowel movements. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day and before your run.
  2. Follow a Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in fiber and nutrients to support proper digestion. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals.
  3. Avoid High-Fat Foods: High-fat foods can contribute to gastrointestinal distress. Limit your intake of fried and fatty foods before a run.
  4. Eat at the Right Time: Allow enough time for digestion before you hit the road. Avoid consuming large meals or snacks immediately before your run.
  5. Experiment with Pre-Run Snacks: Find the right pre-run snack that works for you. Opt for easily digestible foods like bananas, energy bars, or a small handful of nuts.
  6. Monitor Trigger Foods: Pay attention to foods that may trigger digestive issues for you personally. Common trigger foods include spicy foods, caffeine, dairy products, and artificial sweeteners.
  7. Consider Probiotics: Probiotics can help restore the balance of gut bacteria and promote healthy digestion. Consult your healthcare provider about incorporating probiotics into your routine.
  8. Manage Stress: High levels of stress can exacerbate gastrointestinal problems. Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  9. Gradually Increase Intensity: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your runs to allow your body to adapt and reduce the risk of Runner’s Trots.
  10. Plan Your Running Route: Familiarize yourself with the locations of public restrooms or running paths with accessible facilities to have peace of mind during your runs.
  11. Choose the Right Apparel: Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable clothing to reduce friction and minimize sweating, which can contribute to gastrointestinal discomfort.
  12. Post-Run Recovery: After your run, focus on replenishing fluids and electrolytes to restore hydration levels. This can help prevent dehydration-induced diarrhea.

By implementing these tips, you can minimize the occurrence of Runner’s Trots and enjoy a smoother, more comfortable running experience.


Q: What is Runner’s Trots?

A: Runner’s Trots, also known as exercise-induced diarrhea, refers to the sudden urge to have a bowel movement during or after a run.

Q: What causes Runner’s Trots?

A: Runner’s Trots can be caused by factors such as increased blood flow, mechanical stress, gastrointestinal motility, and nervous system response.

Q: How can I avoid Runner’s Trots?

A: To avoid Runner’s Trots, stay hydrated, follow a balanced diet, avoid high-fat foods, time your meals and bathroom breaks, find the right pre-run snacks, monitor trigger foods, consider probiotics, manage stress, gradually increase intensity, plan your running route, choose the right apparel, and focus on post-run recovery.

Q: What are some trigger foods for Runner’s Trots?

A: Common trigger foods for Runner’s Trots include spicy foods, caffeine, dairy products, and artificial sweeteners. It is important to identify your personal trigger foods through experimentation.

Q: How can stress affect the occurrence of Runner’s Trots?

A: High levels of stress can exacerbate gastrointestinal problems, including Runner’s Trots. Managing stress through techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help reduce the risk.

Q: Are there any medications or supplements that can help with Runner’s Trots?

A: Probiotics can help restore the balance of gut bacteria and promote healthy digestion, reducing the occurrence of Runner’s Trots. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can dehydration contribute to Runner’s Trots?

A: Yes, dehydration can contribute to Runner’s Trots. It is important to stay properly hydrated before, during, and after your runs to maintain healthy bowel movements.

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