Strange advice request... proceed with caution! - Couch to 5K

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Strange advice request... proceed with caution!


I am on Wk8, R2. In theory I completed it this morning. But that’s where the problem lies - the ‘theory’.

Ever since the beginning of Wk7 I’ve had a problem....about 12-17 minutes in to the run I have to go to the loo - and I’m not talking about going for a ‘tinkle’ 😂

This meant that it took about two weeks to finish W7 because I’d have to come home and, as I wasn’t technically running the full distance consecutively I would stop there and wait for my next run.

This problem is continuing in W8. I did run one twice before successfully completing it and now I’ve done R2 THREE times and had to stop at 17 minutes and then on the second attempt at 5 minutes AND 12 minutes. Today I got up at 5 am. Pottered around. Drank coffee (everyone says that works!), drank a pint of water. But STILL at 14 minutes I had to stop at my house (I’ve taken to running up and down my road) and go.

I do go as soon as I get up but my body seems to get going again once I start running.

Anyway, today, I just went back out and completed the run and I’m going to bag it as I can’t just keep going round and round in circles. It’s driving me mad.

I guess my question is - is that ok or am I breaking a sacred code. I’ve been sponsored a lot of money to do this (I’m massively overweight and people are finding it highly amusing that I’m doing this) and I don’t want to ‘cheat’ them by not doing the run 100% consecutively. But equally I can’t just keep doing this over and over again.

I also can’t do a Paula Radcliffe. Help! I’m

SO frustrated.

14 Replies

Well it seems to me that the coffee is the problem! It has that effect on many people as the caffeine can over stimulate the bowel. As does the action of running sometimes so make sure you’ve “been” before running!

I’d definitely avoid coffee before a run. I also avoid milk and fresh orange juice before a run (has the same effect!)

Hope that’s just the issue and the advice helps. 👍🏼😊

I was drinking the coffee this morning to try and ‘go’ before I went out. I don’t normally drink coffee before a run, ever!

I could cry, I’m so frustrated.

I am very interested in what advice you receive as this has happened to me a few times. A pretty tricky one to deal with and very frustrating to have to stop

It is isn’t it.


Get up at 5am try to ‘go’ and then take water with you and run. It makes me go if I eat/drink before I run too. Maybe ensure you eat early in the evening before, nothing too heavy/Rich. I have also stopped eating wheat as this has an effect on my movements. I have substituted with wheat free products. This is a common problem and you will find what works for you xxxxx

I guess my question is more about, is saying that I’ve completed this run when I haven’t done it all in one go ok? I can’t just keep repeating, repeating just because my bloody bowels keep sabotaging me! I know I can do the 28 minutes. I’ve done it once.

Ironically it’s when I get to 10/11 minutes that I really start to get in to the rhythm and then by 17 minutes I have to abandon. 😡😡😡


It’s possibly to do with what you ate the day before - I’ve experienced lower bowel cramps when I ate meat or starchy foods (pasta) within 12 hours of a run - which is about the time it hits then end of the digestive system. So look closely at the meal routine on repair days and don’t have anything ‘heavy’ after 3pm if you are running the next morning. Hope that helps!


It's your choice ultimately whether you tick off a run as done or not. Personally, I would feel uncomfortable doing so if I was being sponsored as you say you are. However, that is my own issue, because I experience a lot of anxiety when people have expectations of me, which is one of the reasons I decided decades ago not to go in for anything where I would have to find sponsorship.

I've had the same gut problem and agree that looking at what you eat the day before may help. Also, I need to leave several hours after eating. That is one of my reasons for running in the evening mainly, because morning runs mean going without eating beforehand.

However, there is also perhaps an issue that your insides have now learned that this is what is to be done. What about trying to do the run at a completely different time to your normal time, and also on a completely different route. Maybe this will avoid some trigger or other going off inside?


Is it psychological? I felt I needed to go (both ways😂) before the ParkRun on Saturday. Realised the loos weren’t open so just ran. Got to the end and no longer needed to go. Maybe try running through it?

in reply to Tasha99

I wish. If you’ve ever seen Bridesmaids - the bridal shop scene - that’s what it almost becomes. 😂😂

in reply to LoonyLoo

Oh dear 😳 Toilet concerns is my number 1 worry regarding running 😂 Maybe you should speak to a doctor? Could it be your diet?


I have the same problem intermittently. I think it’s a combination of factors one is anxiety worrying it’s going to happen. I run in morning and only have a few swigs of water beforehand. I also can’t eat too late the night before and have to watch what I eat (no sweet corn ) nothing too heavy and limit alcohol. One thing I have found are diet drinks are a definite Nono.


Perhaps show these posts to those who have sponsored you and gauge their opinion. If they have sponsored you partly to help you get fitter/kick off losing weight I think they will just be impressed and delighted by how well you have done and will be unconcerned with long toilet breaks. They would have been willing to give money to your chosen charity anyway. I do feel sorry for you though. As well as the discomfort, having to run back and forth in the same stretch will be almost as tedious as being on a treadmill- which may be a solution for you as your toilet breaks would then be much shorter and you could try and run through the urge knowing there is always a toilet within a few yards. Good luck.

Hi, seems like running is keeping you regular anyway, which is a good thing. Could you restart your run from the beginning after you stop to go to the loo. Maybe treat the initial start of the run as an extra warm up, especially if you do it slowly. Good luck with it all, keep going.

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