Running is an adventure. Each day is different and can bring a new challenge. When you start the journey, you’ll find yourself discovering things about running and yourself.  You’ll realize you can push past previously self-imposed limitations. Maybe last week, you ran two miles three times when a month earlier you never ran that much in your life. This week, you’re up to two-and-a-half miles. Perhaps you joined a running group and met wonderful new friends. Those things are all great. But what about the “dark” side of running. There are aspects newbies and the non-running public are mostly unaware of. Some of these things are TMI (too much information). I’ll assume most of you are familiar with the phrase and acronym. I’m going to let you guys in on these “secrets.”  Here’s a list five TMI things no one will tell you about running—well, except me.


Sometimes mucus will develop in your nose when you run or you’ll run following something like a cold. A clogged nose will make breathing difficult. Your mouth can take in only so much oxygen. You’ll need your nostrils to pick up the extra air.  But you have no tissues. What do you do? Blow it out on the ground. It sounds gross and disgusting, I get it. Runners do it all the time and it’s no big deal to either do it or see it. If you’ve run with a stuffy nose, you understand. Make sure no one is next to you. Press your finger against one nostril then turn your head to the side and give a hard blow as if you had a tissue pressed against your nose. If you blow hard enough, all the mucus will hit the ground. If you don’t blow hard enough, some of it will get on your face or arm. Yes, it happens and it’ll happen to you at least once as I can guarantee it’s happened to each and every runner who’s blown snot rockets. Wipe it with your arm or hand unless you want snot hanging from the side of your face.


No, eating insects is not some nutritional secret but you will end up eating bugs—unintentionally. I know, it sounds icky. Here’s what’ll happen to you. And it’ll happen to you. You’ll be on a nice run. You’ll be feeling good and your breathing will be great when suddenly something hits the back of your throat. You’ll instinctively swallow. That was a flying insect. Maybe it was a house fly, maybe a gnat or a mosquito. Bugs smash into your car windshield. They also fly right into your mouth. Same concept. Don’t worry. It doesn’t happen often, at least noticeably. But if you run enough, it’ll happen.


One thing running does is mature you when it comes to natural bodily functions. They don’t seem as gross anymore. If you run, you’ll have one day in which you have to go pee in the middle of the run. It’s annoying and uncomfortable. But you can find a restroom or a bush and end the annoyance, no big deal. But what if it was a race? Wouldn’t that suck? YES! From experience, I can tell you it sucks! Marathon runners don’t want that to happen. Often, at major marathons, runners are supposed to be in their corrals 20 to 30 minutes before the start and can’t leave. Many times there are no port-a-potties in these corrals. What do runners do who need to pee at the last minute? They probably just hold it until the first port-a-potty on the course, right? WRONG! They just find a corner and let it go. No shame at all. Oh, men aren’t the only ones who do this. Women too. Yup, I’ve seen it many times. If you see a woman squatting in the corner of the corral, I assure you it’s not some kind of warm up exercise. Never grab a  water bottle from a man who just came for a corner. Marathon runners who need to go will go ASAP. They don’t care if you see them. The people who do see them have been in that position and understand. As for security, sometimes they don’t pay attention. But I suspect many look the other way. If you see wet spots in your corral, it isn’t spilled water.

If you race, learn to love the port-a-potty.  Photo credit:


We started with No. 1. Now it’s No. 2. Running can lead to gastrointestinal distress at times for various reasons like stress/anxiety or eating bad food. I won’t get into the science of it. You can find that here. If you run enough, this will happen to you. It starts with familiar abdominal cramps that seem to get lower and lower. I’m sure you’ve all had those types of cramps so I’m assuming you know what generally follows those cramps. Sometimes, you can get several miles in before your body says STOP OR IT’S COMING OUT! In this instance, matter wins over mind every time. When you have a few or several running routes, know where restrooms are and know where bushes and empty areas are. You might need to stop in those empty areas. Sometimes, your body doesn’t want to wait. It’s a good idea to carry a little bit of toilet paper, especially on long run days. You just never know when it’ll happen. You may feel good three miles into the run then suddenly those cramps hit. If you run enough, you’ll get good at knowing how long you have before you have a high risk of creating mess. I won’t confirm nor deny this scare happening to me.


Few things are more disgusting than puke. Unfortunately, it’s a byproduct of physical exertion at times for some people. You can get the science of it right here. It’s never happened to me but this does happen to lots of runners, including Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi. Runners who need to upchuck will stop dead in their tracks and do so. There is usually no running off to the side or into some bushes. It’s stop and puke. Try not to get right behind or to the side of someone who seems to be dry-heaving in a race. It may not be dry for much longer.

Now that I thoroughly disgusted you, if you still want to run then you are a very motivated person who will achieve his or her running goals. You won’t let bugs, snot, puke, pee or poop get in your way. Onward and upward fellow runner.

Running With You,



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