When you gotta go, you gotta go!
This topic can be a bit sensitive depending on how you handle it. When you’re a long distance runner, sometimes you need to relieve yourself along the way. When you’re far away from others in the fields or woods, you have some flexibility, but if you’re in town, you need to be a bit more strategic. Men also have a little more flexibility than women here at least for the urination side of elimination. I should state that I’ve known some females that can pee faster than men. 🙂
When I travel to regions out of my norm, I will try to map out routes and alternatives for the next morning. If the area is urban/sub-urban I make a note of where the public restrooms are located should the need arise.
I’m primarily addressing the need to urinate during a run. However, there have been just a few times where the bowels have launched a full-scale attack mid-run. Gas station bathrooms are far from my favorite places, but when your bowels are screaming, they look like a beautiful thing. It’s amazing how low your clean-freak standards drop when your options for relief are extremely limited.
I saw this article last year which adds some additional perspective on this topic.
Most places have decency standards and think about how you’d feel if someone was relieving themselves in your front yard. Plan ahead, have a backup plan, be courteous and civil, then enjoy your run!