5 Mid-Run Potty Spots

Is there any runner on Earth who has not found herself, at one point or another, in the middle of a run wishing a bathroom would appear RIGHT NOW!ย You frantically scan the horizon for port-a-potties or civilization and, at last resort, a secluded spot where passing motorists won’t see your butt. A year ago, Salty wrote a post about the secluded last resort spots. But before using Salty’s tips, try one of these 5 potty spots!

OSU campus is rife with bathroom options during football season.
Some people like football season for the football games. I like it for the toilets.

1. College campuses. Your best bet here will be classroom buildings and rec centers and there will be nice signs directing you there. In grad school, I joked that the best part of football season was the port-o-potties that sprung up around campus for the tailgaters.

2. Public libraries. As a bookworm I’m a huge fan of our public library system. I also like their indoor plumbing.

3. Fast food restaurants. Long open hours make fast food restaurants a good bet. Consider coming back for a post-run milkshake to repay your karmic debt.

4. Construction sites. OK, no indoor plumbing here, but port-o-potties are likely. You already know to BYOTP, right (bring your own TP)?

5. The treadmill. GI tract feeling a bit iffy before you even get started? Take to the treadmill for easy bathroom access. If you’re at the gym, you might run the risk of having someone think you are done and take over the treadmill, but seriously — it’s better than pooping your shorts.

What are your favorite mid-run potty spot?

I'm a 20-year veteran of competitive running, USATF certified coach, mom of a toddler -- and still trying to set PRs. I write about training from 5k to marathon, motherhood and competitive running, and the elite side of the sport. The 5k is my favorite race (16:56 PR) but I've got a score to settle with the marathon.

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16 comments

      1. I agree! I’ve chosen trees over gas stations and portopotties many times, as long as there’s a nice secluded spot. At least then I’m only dealing with my own personal bacteria and not everyone else’s butt germs.

    1. Nice planning! Isn’t it funny how we know all the options? I think I could probably even give a pretty accurate estimate of distance to a restroom from almost anywhere on my routes.

  1. Don’t rule out local parks either. Many have facilities. The only trick is if you live in a cold weather climate, the bathrooms are often locked all winter. But late Spring through Fall, they can be quite convenient.

    1. Duh! If my insides are feeling iffy I always run at the park if I can! Bathrooms every couple of miles! And ours are open all year, although those sub-zero potty breaks are a little rough ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Parks are great in most cities! I was actually considering a follow up to this post — the WORST places to find a toilet. Columbus & suburbs have very few & close bathrooms Oct-April. And the park near my house has bathroom hours of 9 am -3 pm and it’s sometimes locked even within those hours – wtf?!

  2. I can’t believe they close restrooms when the park is open. I found this out last week when I took a new route. I stopped at the park because I really had to go #2 and found to my dismay that the doors were locked (argh!). I was so frustrated because I was counting on using that restroom. The wooded area was a distance away and there was nobody around, so I went behind the restroom building (thankfully there were a few small bushes) and relieved myself. I didn’t have any tissues to wipe with, but I survived.