Only a few activities are as thrilling as a marathon. Pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles with gazelle-like and graceful strides, marathon runners try to overcome not only the physical but even the mental challenges of endurance.
If you have ever watched marathon runners, you might have found yourself amazed by their movements. But since these endurance runners are still humans, you probably wonder what they do when nature calls.
What do marathon runners do if they feel the need to pee or poop? Do marathon runners wear diapers or do they just do it in their shorts?
Marathon runners don’t usually wear diapers. Some runners, especially those with potential health conditions that cause incontinence, may opt to use incontinence underwear instead.
But for most runners, proper and sufficient diet planning before the marathon and the use of porta-potties is enough to avoid soiling yourself right in front of thousands of onlookers. After all, the thought itself is dreadful, and it isn’t your fault if your digestive tract is sensitive.
Do Marathon Runners Poop Their Pants?
There might already be many marathon runners who pooped their pants. However, most runners don’t need a break to do number 2. However, this might no longer be applicable for bigger ultramarathon events like 100-mile races where it is quite common to go number 2.
But on those rare occasions that a marathon runner does need to poop during a marathon, a porta-potty or squatting behind a tree or some brushes can be a good option. Aside from this, there might be no other options aside from reaching the finish line with poop filling your pants.
Why Do Marathon Runners Poop Their Pants?
The exact or specific reason why marathon runners poop their pants is not easy to pinpoint because, for most people, it is a matter of individual problems.
However, there are several possible reasons why the number 2 would creep up on a runner all of a sudden halfway through the marathon. These include:
● Anxiety and nervousness
● Older age
● Other health problems that cause incontinence
● Sensitive digestive tract
● Excessive fiber before the marathon
Generally speaking, anything that can interfere with your gut’s bacteria can induce bowel movements as well as other digestive tract problems like gas, bloating, and others.
Another potential reason in addition to the ones listed above is the fact that in general, exercise can stimulate the bowels and possibly induce movement.
A lot of people who often suffer from constipation also happen to live a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, it makes sense that higher activity levels can give you better habits and regulate proper bowel movement. Aerobic exercises such as running can stimulate the contraction of the intestinal muscles. It means that it is not really surprising if marathon racers feel the urge to poop during their run.
It is only one of the few things that humans don’t have complete control over because this is how the body works.
Can Marathon Runners Use Incontinence Underwear Instead?
Yes, marathon runners can also use incontinence underwear, but it doesn’t work the way most people think it does. Most incontinence products you can find in the market work like an adult diaper. However, this underwear can only absorb a moderate or mild amount of leakage as a result of incontinence.
Incontinence underwear is mostly for those people who suffer from incontinence-causing conditions. Thus, never assume that you can urinate or defecate on yourself in the same way you do in the bathroom and expect your incontinence underwear to absorb everything like magic because this is not how these products work.
However, runners can also use performance leak proof underwear. But once again, it will never solve the problem of feeling the urge to do number 2 or 1. This is the reason why most marathon runners don’t wear diapers. They just settle for normal exercise underwear instead or anything else they find comfortable enough for them.
Tips to Prevent Going to the Bathroom During a Marathon
More than being a feat of perseverance, strength, and endurance, running a marathon is also a matter of conquering the colon. As your feet hit the pavement for hours, your organs are also jostled inside. It also directs blood toward your legs and away from your digestive tract. It leaves runners either constipated or incontinent.
Early start times can also make it impossible for some races to fully relieve themselves before the marathon begins. Race day jitters only make things worse. The anxious feeling of running a race with new people around you can trigger your bowels at the most unexpected times.
As a result, it has become rather common to suffer from digestive distress in the middle of the race. Many racers even complain about abdominal pain.
The good news is that there are several ways you can do to reduce the risks of runner’s trots during marathon day and make the need feel less comfortable when it strikes.
Remember that everything that goes in before a marathon also affects what will come out and when it will. Eating fatty, spicy, or extremely fibrous foods can surely backfire.
Instead, experts suggest small meals rich in carbohydrates the day before and breakfast rich in carbs at least several hours before the start of the race. An example of a good pre-race meal is a bagel with banana and peanut butter with an ideal carb-to-protein-to-fat ratio.
It is also important to be wary of gels made with fructose or lactose during the marathon instead of simple glucose which can cause harder digestion for some people.
Hydration before and during the marathon is also important. Just stay away from caffeinated beverages, especially if your stomach is sensitive to them.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to drink and eat before and during running, everything must still be rehearsed properly and carefully. Be sure to practice your meal before the run in the same way that you practice the actual run itself. You can also try several breakfasts during your long run days and determine what will work best for you.
What to Do When You Feel the Urge to Use the Bathroom During a Marathon
There are times when runs during marathon day just happen out of a blue. In cases like this, pro runners suggest taking note in advance of the specific locations of the portable toilets along the way. You can also consider tucking some baby wipes or toilet paper in your fanny pack or pocket.
Slowing down and drinking some cool liquids can also help settle your upset stomach during your run. It will allow your blood to flow and be redistributed to your gastrointestinal tract. You will then feel much better as a result.
However, hoping that the dreaded feeling will go away isn’t really effective most of the time. If you do see a portable toilet along the route, don’t hesitate to make the most out of it. All you have to do is duck inside the toilet and go as fast as you can to take care of your business. The best thing about here is that you will be able to run faster afterward because you now feel more comfortable with fewer worries.
Some runners also suggest stopping at a secluded spot and relieving themselves out in nature. But of course, you can also be like some of those rare runners who simply choose to go in their pants.