How to poop on race day.....yep!

Ok, so maybe you’re looking at this and thinking, really? A blog on pooping? Yes, because we all do it, it’s a natural occurrence and we all have had our moments on race day when the clock to the race is ticking and your stomach is not cooperating with the event. Yes, pooping is a topic that people tend to run from. But I thought it would be helpful.

We all have our morning routines that get us going. For the most part, our bodies generally go along with the routine. Wake up, have coffee, go poo or whatever it may be for you. Many people have bowels that are set on their own internal timer that get you going the same time every day.  But sometimes on race day, for some reason your body forgets the routine. You think to yourself “Man, it’s going to be a long race, if I don’t go poop now, I don’t want to have to get the urge in the middle of the race”.  That will make for an even longer and miserable race.

So let’s say you already went to the port-a-potty twice with no luck and now you’re starting to panic. Maybe its race day jitters? Maybe the race starts at your normal go time? Who knows, but you know that you need to make it happen before the race starts. So what can you do to get your bowels to go with the flow on race day?

  1. Have a cup of Joe

Many swear that their first morning cup of coffee does the trick. Researchers say that one study found that coffee does “give you the urge” but they are unsure why coffee has this effect.  What makes even less sense is that coffee cause’s dehydration and dehydration causes constipation, so how could it make you go poop? Whatever the reason, if it works for you, then by all means do what you have to do.
Researchers also say that any warm beverage will do the trick. The warmth will act as a vasodilator and open up the vessels in the digestive system, stimulating a bowel movement.

  1. Get moving

Physical activity can also stimulate the bowels, which on race day could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a good thing if you do a light jog or something to get moving before the race and you can go before the race starts. It’s a bad thing if you didn’t get to go before the race and all the movement during the race causes you to have to go and you have to finish the race all puckered up and miserable. Either way, try to do a warm up of some kind before the start of the race to see if that helps.

  1. Sit

Sometimes just sitting there on the toilet will tell your bowels that they need to do something. So try to get to the race early enough to have time to just sit.

  1. Get up earlier

We all get up early enough on race day as is, but if you know you may have trouble doing the deed the morning of race day, try to set your routine to get up and moving early to try to stimulate your bowels and have time to just sit if needed. It’s better to sit in the comfort of your hotel room or home than the port-a-potty at the race. Especially when there will be a long line waiting for your seat. You don’t want to have to rush the process. Rushing never helps.

  1. Massage your belly

A gentle massage pushing downward on your abdomen can help push and stimulate the bowels as well. This also helps while you’re just sitting there.

  1. Eat enough fiber the week of the race

Having enough fiber in your regular diet is important. Fiber helps with digestion and will keep you regular. However don’t consume large amounts on race day, it could cause diarrhea. 

  1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration leads to constipation. So if you are not drinking enough water throughout the week, you may have problems on race day. Make sure you are drinking at least 8-10 cups of water a day to keep you from getting constipated. However, unless is really hot outside, do not drink iced water. Iced water constricts the blood vessels in the digestive system and slows down digestion. It is best to drink water at room temperature.

I hope these tips will be helpful.
Remember there is only one turtle head we want to see on race day.

Cali Paddler - Ashley

Share this post...
Previous post Next post


  • Rog - May 20, 2016

    Greggy, I remember a very long convo in the way to Tempe about this subject….The pre race download.

  • Carlos - May 20, 2016

    This was hilarious and very informative. I was hoping someone would write about this.

  • Greggy - April 28, 2015

    A topic that greatly needed delving into….

Leave a comment

Paddle Pledge Non-Profits