Dark morning, cozy winters, everyone sleeping, you step out of the house with your gears ready and start to run but suddenly in the middle of the run there comes an unwanted urge.

An urge to defecate, which I believe each and every or 60-70 percent of the runners face and usually it comes during the long runs. Clinically it’s called runner’s colitis/runners trots/runners diarrhea. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe ones and can seriously impact one’s performance or can even spoil it.

 

Some common symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Flatulence
  • Cramping
  • Gas
  • Sudden need to defecate
  • Bloating

There had been numerous researches done on it. Some very common theories which explain the science behind it are as:

 

  1. DEHYDRATION

Our intestine’s ability to absorb its content dwindles down in a dehydrated state. So in such a state the intestine flushes out its content and can lead to diarrhea

 

  1. PRE RUN MEAL

Diet is a leading trigger for runners’ diarrhea. The foods which can lead to this runners diarrhea include

  • High fiber veggies, fruits and whole grains.
  • Foods high in fat
  • Protein rich food
  • Wheat products
  • Dairy products
  • Artificial sweeteners

 

  1. DIMINISHED BLOOD FLOW

During a run the blood gets re-routed from the intestines to the legs and other body parts & once the blood flow is limited, the intestinal absorption of nutrients and water reabsorption in the colon gets disrupted, causing loose stools.

 

  1. UP AND DOWN MOTION

Running whip the bowels and squeezes the intestines. This fastens the flow of food content gas, and stool along the digestive tract, causing a sudden need for a bowel movement.

 

  1. PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS
  2. ANXIETY AND STRESS
  3. IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)
  4. HORMONAL CHANGES

HOW TO PREVENT RUNNER’S TROTS?

 

  1. Spend some good time in the washroom to clear the bowels
  2. Eat right before the run. Avoid eating foods which speed up the bowel movement. Also keep a check on the timing of pre-run meal and its quantity. You should also be prepared for emergencies.
  3. Stay well hydrated and avoid hot liquids as these can speed up the flow of food through the digestive tract.
  4. Use a diet journal to keep a track of the meal, timing and portion size and look for the patterns
  5. Wear loose clothing around the abdomen as tight clothing around the waist can constrict blood flow to the intestines, which in turn may make condition worst.

 

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IN CASE THE DIARRHOEA IS NOT SETTLING AND IF YOU EXPERIENCING THE FOLLOWING

  • Bloody or jet black stools
  • Intense and frequent diarrhea
  • persistent diarrhea even after the exercise is over
  • Chronic nausea and ongoing abdominal pain.
  • Weight loss

 

SO IN A NUTSHELL TO CONCLUDE RUNNERS DIARRHOEA IS NOT A SERIOUS CONDITION BUT IF NOT TREATED AT THE RIGHT TIME IT CAN IMPAIR ONES PERFORMANCE

 

 

By

Dr Richa Tandon (PT)

Sports Physio, Running consultant @ Physio Active.

 

About Author-

Dr Richa is Masters in MusculoSkeletol Physiotherapy practicing from the past 10yrs in Gurgaon. She is herself a Marathon runner and had completed half marathon recently. She is very active in Gurgaon and first choice as a consultant for beginners and pre-Marathon preparation. Her extensive knowledge on running gait, speed and pace management and Spine role in running make her more effective in solving many issues for beginner and elite runner.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

We live in a time when technology has brought us closer to music than ever before, enshrining its role in our emotional and social lives. According to the available evidence, music captures attention, triggers a range of emotions, alters or regulates mood, increases work output, heightens arousal, induces states of higher functioning, reduces inhibitions and encourages rhythmic movement. When it comes to listening music and running there starts a debate.
It comes with its own pros and cons.

Listening to music during workout has the following benefits:

  • It improves performance and decreases the perceived exertion and fatigue 
  • Ergogenic effect of music is evident as it improves exercise performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. This effect results in higher than expected levels of endurance, power, productivity or strength. 
  • The researches show that it reduces perception of effort during a strenuous workout–which explains why you tend to pick up the pace when a good song comes on. 
  • It helps your body and focuses your mind to maintain a good tempo to run a strong steady pace.
  • When listening to music while running, it naturally focuses the brain away from fatigue and soreness. This in turn allows the runner to run further without feeling like you need to stop because you are too tired to keep going.

But despite of all of the benefits music brings to the table, there are plenty of reasons to leave your tunes behind when you head out on your next run.

 

  • PERFORMANCE

Studies have found that while running if your level of effort is high then listening to music does not have a positive effect on your performance, but rather it can have a negative effect. This is because the music can distract you from the goal you are trying to achieve.

  • FOCUS

Music can take away the focus of the runners. They have to make sure their form is right to get the most out of every stride and focus on controlling their breathing so enough oxygen is flowing through their body so they do not catch cramps while running. Moreover you spend half the run trying to keep sweaty headphones from falling out of your ears.

  • RISK OF INJURY

Running with music causes the runners to loose sense of their surroundings. Runners can no longer hear what is going on around them. This puts the runners at risk of getting hurt by cars if working out near busy streets, or any where that the runner should be cautious of what’s around them.

  • BODY AWARENESS

Without music in your ears, you are likely to be much more aware of how your body feels and reacts at a certain pace. When you run hard intervals, you can easily register an increase in breathing rate and notice how your arm swing and leg stride might change as you surge and recover.Being able to tune into your body with no distractions allows you to focus on maintaining a relaxed, smooth stride through the harder efforts, and to be able to calm and deepen your breathing to carry more oxygen to the legs. With that up-tempo playlist blasting in your ears, you might miss the cues from your body that you’re pushing an interval too hard—or not hard enough.

  • DISTRACTION

If you’ve been a runner for long enough, you’ve most likely experienced the feeling of being in the zone during a run or race. Also known as being in “flow,” and some of the best sports performances happen in this state. In flow, your mind is locked on the task , time seems to shift, the world falls away and you feel confident in your body and its abilities to meet any challenge. But with earbuds in, your mind often focuses on what you are listening to, rather than dropping into that heightened awareness that flow requires. 

  • REDUCTION IN RUNNING PERFORMANCE

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that carrying that giant iPhone 7 Plus on your arm for thousands and thousands of steps won’t impact your gait. The extra weight on one side creates a slight imbalance in your body that gets magnified over the miles and can lead to poor form, muscles strains or injuries. Having one less item to carry on your run means less weight to lug through each workout.

One of the best things about running music-free is getting to experience the change in the seasons through the sounds of nature on a run. The crystalline stillness of a winter morning, the birdcalls of a dewy spring day, the damp air and cicadas of summer, the crunch of the leaves under your feet in fall—all sounds you would miss with headphones on. With so many sounds and screens demanding your attention each day, a device-free run is an amazing way to unplug. Enjoying nature’s own soundtrack is refreshing on more than one level; you may find it’s just plain easier to appreciate nature when you are fully present in the moment. Just enjoy the world around you. 

So, in a nutshell listening to music and not listening to music is a matter of totally a personal choice but before stepping on donning a earphone weigh it pros and cons carefully.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
Dean Karnazes

 

Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.

For many, running is an integral part of their life. Running gives an almost indescribable feeling of accomplishment and provides a powerful relief. It helps to clear your mind and reduces stress. As such, running is pure therapy for the soul. If there is a problem, you are struggling with, go run a mile and see what happens! While running may not help you to solve all your problems, it definitely will help you through the tough times of life. At the same, understand why running is so powerful. 

 

Runners sweat and train each day, some with an enthusiasm to achieve more while others with a fight going on every moment between their brains and hearts.

 

Typically, Training is important for running because with it comes a need of

  • Greater balance
  • Greater muscle strength
  • Greater joint range of movement i.e. flexibility
  • Good running posture; which improve their mileage and performance on field

 

In spite of rigorous training, the athletes suffer from on and off pain and injuries, which not only hampers their physical capability to achieve more but also weakens their morale, emotional quotient. Most runners train in groups where it is not possible to address flexibility or strength specific to the individual. 

 

If you are into your running, you may have heard of Gait Analysis.

It is a method for identifying biomechanical faults in the running gait cycle, or in other words, it’s a tool used to assess the way in which you run. It can be beneficial in that it can identify any overactive or underactive muscles in the body, which could lead to potential injuries and inefficiencies in the future. It is further helpful in

  1. Understanding your Foot Strike
  2. Analyzing Running Mechanics
  3. Improving current Cadence 
  4. Recovering & Prevention from Injury

 

Understanding the RUNNING GAIT CYCLE is imperative for proper clinical analysis and communication with runners. It includes analyzing ankle, knee, hip and pelvis position at various phases of a running cycle and comparing it to the reference data and further discussing the report catering the need of the runner.

For a good running economy, running posture has to be appropriate which includes:

  1. Correct foot strike pattern
  2. Proper knee bending during landing for shock absorption
  3. Controlled pelvic movements 
  4. Appropriate hip extension 
  5. Adequate trunk bending 
  6. Limited vertical movement

Analyze your body and give yourself an improved lifestyle and better performance in the sport you love.