No one wants to talk about it; no one even wants to deal with it. But IT happens. You’re on a great run in the neighborhood, and your stomach starts to churn. Each time your stomach drops, you know you’re one step closer to having to poop. This is not a laughing matter, but a realistic part of exercise. If you follow major runners, many are known to wet themselves and/or defecate on themselves in the middle of a run. It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable, and downright unpredictable. There’s no catch-all way to prevent it from happening. However, here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Try to take care of it pre-exercise. I hydrate up until about 45 minutes prior to running and I have set intervals to hydrate while exercising. I also employ a squatty potty to help with the number 2. This is almost a poop-on-command contraption.

2. If running/exercising outdoors, know where you can go. Many trails have strategically placed restrooms. Many local establishments aren’t afraid to allow you to use their facilities (of course carrying an extra dollar or two to buy a water (i.e. becoming a paying customer) doesn’t hurt either). Don’t be afraid to go in the woods.

3. Worst case scenario, make sure to have an extra pair of shorts and/or a towel in the car for the ride home.

I recently read an article about a Boston Marathon participant who waited for a teammate at the port-a-potty because she didn’t want to have an unfair advantage over her pal. Our body does funky stuff with exercise. We do excrete a hormone while exercising that helps stop urination, but even in the best circumstances, we can’t fully control this. After getting used to exercise, you’ll learn your body a little more, and know when to go.

Now, chafing. Chafing is caused by friction. I mentioned it earlier in a post on Sports Bras, but it is another evil of exercising. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Certain fabrics and cuts work better for me. I prefer tighter pants that go at least 5″ on the inseam. This is a personal preference; I went through numerous outfits to determine my preference. However, cotton fabrics are not the ideal for workout wear.

2. Body Glide is a worthwhile investment. You will learn if and where you chafe. Apply the glide there, and you’ll combat the pain.

Finally, Feet. First, there’s athlete’s foot. I am prone to this, and it happens if I run in wet conditions, if I wear my sweaty socks after a run, or if I don’t take care of my feet. This care entails using powder, cleaning my feet after exercising, and applying an occasional anti-fungal. Again, not everyone battles this, but it can be a part of the ugly side of fitness. Next is the toenails. Due to repeated contact with the ends of my shoes, my toenails are often bruised, and I occasionally lose a few. I’ve had my shoes properly fitted, but I still have issues. They do make gel toe covers that have helped, but I’ve yet to find a true solution. So, I try to paint them during sandal season, and not worry too much about how they look. I am an athlete after all.

Our bodies are unpredictable. The ugly side of exercising should not be a deterrent to participation. The more you learn your vessel, the easier it gets.

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