Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The mid-run bathroom break

Warning: My mother would find this post crude and inappropriate for discussion in a public forum

Admit it, please. Sometimes you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of your run. If it's a long run outside, you may run all over trying to find an open public bathroom or squat in the woods. I've definitely done the former and have considered the latter. Have you cut short a run just because you had to go? Did you go back out and resume said workout? Have you struggled to get back into compression wear or spandex because you are so sweaty?

I hopped off the treadmill mid-run today to take a potty break. I felt guilty doing it. I was only running a 3-mile tempo, but at 1.5 miles I just couldn't hold it anymore. I turned off the treadmill, ran to the bathroom, and came back and finished my workout. I know some people would just leave the thing on while they go, but my mind won't let me comp that 1/4 of a mile that I would miss.

Back in the fall, I spent 5 miles of a 7-mile run trying to find an open port-a-potty or calling friends who lived on my running route trying to find a place to go to the bathroom. I ended up getting all of the way back to my starting point and running into a community center to go.

I know you could just tell me "run faster and you'll be able to go sooner." That just makes the whole thing worse. I am not one of those people who feels comfortable squatting wherever to go. I actually stopped at a rest area on my way to my last half marathon so I could avoid a port-a-potty and warned my mother-in-law that I might drop by on my way home and use her toilet.

All of this potty talk has me worried about the potty situation for my upcoming marathon. I KNOW I cannot make it 5+ hours without going and am dreading it.

Any potty on the run advice from the peanut gallery?


  1. I know the problem! So I make sure I don't drink too much before a run, and make a pit stop before I run out the door.

    And I take a break after about 5 miles. I'll stop at a nice restaurant, have a cup of coffee, and use the bathroom. And them I'm good to go.

  2. One of the fun aspects of running! If I told you how many times/places I've gone outside (did it today in Patapsco!) we'd both lose count. I think it always helps to try to hit the bathroom one last time before heading out, if possible. But when the urge hits, the urge hits--always good to get comfortable with a tree!

  3. Somehow, I've lucked out and never actually had to go during a race (maybe I don't quite drink enough?) But I've had my share of training run stops. Just do your best to be quick, in and out!

  4. I really had to go on a recent hike and could not seem to find a port-o-potty in the park. I might have gone in the woods if there had been fewer people around. I did start carrying tissues and a hand sanitizer wipe in a sandwich bag (doubles as a trash bag) just in case I ever really do have to go outside or in a port-o-potty that's out of toilet paper. I keep it in my spibelt.

    Ashley @