Well, this might be a slightly embarrassing topic, but let’s face facts here: I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t had the call of nature come knocking (inconveniently so, I might add) during at least one of their runs. For me, this is an occurrence that happens much more frequently than I would like - right in the middle of my run. Some of you may in the past have wondered why I run at home on my treadmill so much… well, now you know.
However, the grim reality is that if you are a runner, chances are that at some point in your future you will have to be away from the comforts of your treadmill and your own personal, richly appointed (aka your favorite toilet paper) bathroom. It’s a fact of life… get used to it.
However, the point of today’s blog is not to make you vow to never run in the great outdoors ever again, but to get you thinking about just a few little facts of life and precautions that will make your adventure into the great outdoors a little more bearable.
Reality #1: Running, aside from the aforementioned treadmill workouts is an OUTDOOR activity. With this, come other certainties, such as the fact that Murphy is going to strike maybe not today, but at some point… you will need to go the worst when you are at the absolute furthest distance from the warmth and comfort of your home.
Reality #2: Porta-potties are a fact of life for the runner. Despite all your past experiences with these little blue silos of organic-chemistry-in-action, know that the porta-potty is actually your FRIEND. In fact, I highly recommend scouting out potential new running trails before you actually begin pounding the pavement/dirt/gravel. You need to know if the trail offers porta-potties, how many, and how far between. A little knowledge goes a long, LONG way here. If you’re really lucky and are on a well maintained and developed trail, you might even be so fortunate as to have an actual restroom facility at your disposal. Don’t count on this, but just consider yourself fortunate when you encounter indoor plumbing… and keep going back to run on that trail… you’ve found a treasure!
Reality #2(a): Not all races offer port-potties. Yes, fortunately, most of the larger and longer races do, but this isn’t an automatic. It is a good idea to obtain the route of the run from the race coordinators ahead of time and determine where there might be an emergency pit-stop available, such as a city park on the route, a hospital, a hotel, or even a McDonald’s.
Reality #3: When running on trails (this does NOT apply to running in neighborhoods), there is no shame in finding a bush… or tree… or rock… assuming any of the above are big enough to provide a bit of modesty. However, a word of caution here. Please carefully survey the entire site before tugging down your compression tights… I can’t emphasize this enough. Look 360º in all directions and then take a moment to lift and lower your head to see what’s above or below you. What might look like a well hidden spot might actually be very exposed if there is an unfortunate curve in the trail or if there are houses situated high on a bank above the site. You want to discover these flaws before having to try to pull back up your tights at a frantic pace… compression tights & speed just don’t mix well.
Reality #4: Always carry a little extra tissue (facial or toilet) in your pocket or your sport belt or your sock or your bra. The time you forget to carry this is the time the little blue silo will be completely depleted of its stock of TP… besides, it’s always good to have a little tissue on hand to blow your nose, thus avoiding the unsightly (however macho it may be) snot rocket. Oh yeah… a little tip here: keep your tissue in a zippered sandwich baggie - nothing like a little sweat to prove exactly HOW absorbent the Charmin really is.
Reality #5: Your running/compression tights will NEVER return to the same location and degree of comfort that you had worked so hard to establish prior to stopping at the little blue silo. No amount of twisting, tugging, wiggling, or jumping will return the crotch of your tights to their original position… GET OVER IT… with a little time back on the running trail, they will settle into a new location that will at least allow you to get through your run with a minimum of chub rub.
This blog wasn’t meant as a way to scare you. No, outdoor running definitely has some advantages tht the treadmill will never have: sunshine (at least part of the year), fresh air and possibly some very nice (or at the very least, interesting) scenery. No, my intention here was merely to get you to think about planning a little more to get the most out of the great outdoors. And now that you know what to expect and how to prepare… get out there and get running!
Pace: 5.1 mph
Treadmill Run (kind of ironic, isn't it?)