Will Popping a “Poop” Pill Make You a Better Runner?

Mileage goals
Written by Charlie

In yet another new area of study for runners, there is a study that is working to provide a pill that could help runners become better at their sport.

It is amazing to see how far technology has come to help the runner improve on race times and performance. I mean, think back to the marathons over 35 years ago and you may even laugh at the clothes and footwear some athletes wore – while throwing down pretty impressive times.

It is not just running that has seen an evolution in sports science to improve performance. Just look at the early big hitters in baseball (especially Babe Ruth). Now we have training plans to outline the length and type of sleep, stretches, exercises, kinds of food to eat, material to wear for workouts and much more.

Will Popping a “Poop” Pill Make You a Better Runner?

But there will always be a search for that “thing” that is the difference between a runner being really good and a runner being great, the elite. One microbioligist, Jonathan Scheiman, has been working on that very “thing” to try and identify certain elements that could help in the performance of runners. To do this, he has been harvesting and going through these elite runners’ poop and studying the bacteria that he thinks that can make our muscle performance for things like running improve.

According to Quartz, here is what he showed at a conference last week: “On Aug. 20 at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference in Washington DC, Scheiman presented some of his team’s work. In one, he obtained fecal samples daily from 20 marathon runners participating in the 2015 Boston marathon for a week before and after the race. When he and his team analyzed these samples, they found a large collection of bacteria capable of breaking down lactic acid, a byproduct our muscles produce when they’re working hard and which may contribute to fatigue later on. “So basically, we identified a bug [meaning bacteria] almost as a natural response to exercise that can break down…these metabolites” he said in a press conference.”

To view the conference, check out this YouTube video. Listen around the 7 minute mark to see how this would be different from chemical stimulants that are banned from racing.

Will This Happen?

Of course, if it is to eventually hit the market, it will take quite a while for the research and production to occur. Still, it is an interesting idea that what is currently being harvested from elite runners’ digestive systems may provide a bacterial element that could help runners be better.

HT: Quartz

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.