alsoran runners Pit Stops

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Aka answering natures call or taking a "comfort break"!  I guess I have the kind of gut that just doesn’t play ball but I have come to terms with it a long time ago.  When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Over the years I have tried all the tricks in terms of eating, drinking and medication with regard to a happy gut.  You name it, I tried it.  But alas, shit happens!

So this page is about dealing with the situation, rather than finding a ‘cure’ for it.  What I have worked out over the years is that my gut does eventually settle down and sort itself out.  My pit stops happen in the early stages of a run, about 4 to 5 kays into the run.  On long runs I’ll often have to make 3 or 4 pit stops within the first 20 kays, thereafter I’m fine.  This is something I know so I no longer stress out about whether I will need to go or not.  I now see pit stops in a very positive light.  To me, they are quad stretch opportunities.  You’ll be amazed at how your legs appreciate the break and the little stretch.

Here follows my guide to pit stopping
  • Get over it!  Don’t let modesty hold you back.  Probably easier for women who have experienced natural childbirth!
  • When running, don’t turn back to go and pit stop!  Keep moving forward and look ahead and suss out a good spot to go.  I look for fynbos or similar bush and hide behind it.
  • Watch your footing – don’t twist an ankle in the process!
  • Be careful where you squat.  Look out for poison ivy, stinging nettles and puffadders.
  • Make sure you have some tissue or toilet paper.  If not, the fynbos tends to be pretty scratchy!
  • I avoid the portable toilets en route.  By the time I get to one of them, they are already a health hazard.  The seat is usually ‘soiled’ which means one has to ‘hover’ which is not easy on tired legs!  I rather take my chances in the fynbos which is pleasing to the eye and the nostrils.
  • Where possible, especially in built up areas, make use of public restrooms at shops, petrol and railway stations.  If none are available, try knocking on someone’s door and explain your dilemma.  Whatever you do, do it quickly.  You don’t have much time to waste!
  • Ladies, there is a trick to standing and weeing!  I never learnt it!  I much prefer to wee like a girl!
  • Running with a cramping gut or a full bladder can be very uncomfortable and can affect your overall performance.  It is quite easy to completely lose focus as you struggle along.  Deal with it before it is too late!
  • If my guts play up during a run/race, I usually take 2 Imodium’s or Lomotils and that seems to  help.
  • Occasionally I get the continuous urge to wee all the time.  I think it is probably linked to a low grade bladder infection.  This makes running quite uncomfortable.  I now carry an emergency sachet of Citro-soda in my goody bag.  It’s an alkaline which works as a neutraliser.  It does offer some relief!
  • If you wake up in the morning with 'out and out' jippo guts (the squirts and the throw ups) it is not advisable to even start!  You will be putting your body under tremendous strain when it doesn’t     have the reserves to deal with it.  If your jippo guts only start during the course of the run, try     taking some Imodium and be mindful of what’s going in and out of your body.  If the squirts abate, try continuing but with care.  Rather be safe than sorry!  It’s your call.
And Lastly
  • Make sure you have a wee within 2 hours of finishing any training run or race.  That way you know your kidneys are working.

Hopefully you will not have this problem but when shit does happens, I hope you have learnt something from this page.  Take this knowledge with you into Comrades!


Key words: bad guts, pit stops, toilets, Imodium, Lomotil
Internal links: goody bag, focus
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za