The #1’s and #2’s of long distance running

When you start to train for long distance runs, your training runs can be anywhere from 5 miles to 5 hours. Your mental, physical, and physiological prep is drastically different for runs covering many hours.

Here’s what we have learned about the #1’s and #2’s along the way…

  • Humans with external plumbing have it a bit easier for navigating the #1’s


Humans without external plumbing, don’t despair. While I have not tried it myself, I have read and heard stories about how you navigate the #1’s nearly as effectively as our counterparts. There are even clothing lines now to help make it a bit easier.

  • Regardless of your plumbing construction, plan a route with restrooms!


We have key gas stations we often include on our longer runs. We’ve often scared a few gas station workers as we approach the establishment at 4:00am, in the dark, with bouncing headlamps. We always make sure to buy something…gummy bears, a bottle of water, potato chips…something so as to not only be in there just for the needed facilities.

  • If you have to use a port-a-potty…


Choose one that is on flat ground or leaning forward. Backward leaning units make it really hard to stand up after. If your only option is leaning backwards, don’t stress too much. There is a metal bar in the middle of the door on the inside. This bar is wonderful for when you need a little help standing back up.

A few other tips for the port-a-potty adventure. Check the TP reserve before conducting your business! Better yet, always have some on hand in your running pack. Fold it up all nice like and put it in a ziplock bag to protect it from rain and other sources of water (you know, like yard sprinklers that come on an scare the —- out of you).

  • Carbo-loading the night before is not that great of an idea!


Not a good idea. Why? For us, a good pasta dinner the night before leads to a healthy #2 mid-run. When you don’t follow the advice of #1, that #2 the next day is going to be less than pleasant. (TMI: many runners have #2ed in their pants on a run. It’s a thing. It happens. Not on purpose. Not something we are proud of. If you are new to running and fear this part of running, don’t. We’ve all been there!)


There are many other tips and tricks for navigating the #1s and especially the #2’s out there. Ask a runner near you how they make it happen while on the run.


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