This Is Why Running Gives You, Well, the Runs…

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Nothing ruins a great run quicker than having to stop mid-stride to hit the bathroom. If you’re lucky enough (shall we say) to get the urge during an actual race, your gut and your time can suffer. The good news? Find a little comfort that you’re certainly not the only one who's having this internal ahem struggle on the course.

The fact is that whether it’s running or a HIIT workout, most physical activity prompts the body to have the same response, says Rich Velazquez, COO and coach at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. “Movement of the body impacts the gut, and will ‘loosen’ things up,” he says. “The colon also becomes stimulated as it tries to both absorb the nutrients you'll need while exercising and expel waste efficiently.”

So what’s a gal to do if she’s hoping to avoid the Porta Potty mid-run (that is, if there’s one around)? Here, Velazquez offers up his better-gut tips for a great workout, no dropping of the Spandex required.

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How to train your gut as you're training for a run

1. Eat right ahead of time

Especially if you’re gearing up for a race, you want to make sure you’re putting your fueling strategy to the test far in advance of the big day so you don’t get any surprises along the way. Generally speaking, this means avoiding high-fiber foods in the hours leading up to a workout, as they could be number-two triggers. Big on coffee? Some research has shown that both regular and decaf can induce a bowel movement. If you’re one of those must-have-java-before-exercise types, make sure you give yourself enough time to process the effects before hitting the open road.

2. Warm up appropriately

Getting in a dynamic warm-up before you get to work is good for more than just prepping your muscles for the work ahead. Moves like lunges, jumping jacks, and squats can also trigger your business before the main event, which means one less thing to worry about once it’s time start your running watch.

3. Drink up

Hydration is a critical component of any runner’s day-to-day. “Water helps the digestion process and aids in nutrient breakdown,” says Velasquez. “The general rule of thumb I tell my runners is five liters each day.” The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, and 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.

As for what happens when, well you know, that happens, here are some firsthand runner accounts of LOL worthy running stories and, if you've lost it, this is how to get your running mojo back.

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