5 Most Embarrassing Running Moments and How to Avoid

If you've been running for a long time, I'm sure you have an embarrassing running story to tell. We all do. If we haven't face-planted in front of strangers or nearly pooped our pants, I'm not sure we would have the resiliency necessary to succeed at running. It's the adversity that makes us stronger, right? Besides, embarrassing situations are awkward at the moment, but they make for funny stories to tell later, and everyone loves a funny story. 

I have had my fair share of awkward running fails. 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. This post is sponsored by HEX performance. All opinions and embarrassing stories are my own. If I hated it, I’d tell you.

most embarrassing running moments and how to avoid them. Save to your favorite Pinterest running board for later.

most embarrassing running moments and how to avoid them. Save to your favorite Pinterest running board for later.



I got up early on Sunday morning for a long run. I was far away from home when I felt it coming on, the dreaded number two, in the middle of my run. I tried to ignore it, but we all know, once it knocks, there's nothing much we can do to stop it. I was sweaty, tired, and panicked. I started walking, but I was losing control. What was I going to do? Then I look up, and like a miracle from God, I recognized a familiar house, a friend's house! Not the kind of friend I see every week, but definitely on a first name basis and we've been to each other's homes. I desperately approached the front door and knocked. If she didn't answer, this wasn't going to end well.

I had been awake for several hours at this point and lost track of the fact that it was still relatively early on a Sunday morning, it just didn't occur to me in my emergency-state that some people might not be out of bed yet. I promise that I am usually more considerate. My sweet savior answered the door in a robe looking tired and a little confused. I explained my unfortunate situation and asked if I could use her bathroom. She kindly and graciously agreed and I took care of business and got out of there as soon as possible. I can only imagine the conversation after with her husband.

Who was at the door? 
It was Lea, from the neighborhood.
What did she want? 
To take a shit.


The key here is planning. Allow plenty of time in the morning to take care of business. Coffee often helps stimulate movement. It can be helpful to reduce fiber, dairy, and fatty foods in the days leading up to a long run or race. The fact is sometimes, mother nature calls at the worst possible times. 


The year we adopted Ollie, I thought it would be a great idea to take him with me to run the dog-friendly turkey trot in Fort Worth. It had rained overnight, and the park at the start line was damp and muddy. As soon as I took him out of the car, I could tell his anxiety was high. He was having trouble taking in all the people and dogs around. He was excited in a weird way that I've never seen before. I kept him off to the side away from people and other pets to calm him down before the race. He seemed to be doing fine, so when they announced that the race would begin in five minutes, we started walking towards the starting line. 

Ollie locked eyes with his apparent arch-enemy, the Great Dane. Maybe he had never seen a dog this large before, but his type A-Alpha dog personality didn't like it one bit. I am sure he was thinking, "Who does this big dog think he is walking around the park like he owns the place?" 

He started pulling and barking towards his nemesis. Ollie weighs about 85 pounds, and his will was stronger than my arms. He pulled, and I pulled back. He pulled harder; I pulled harder. He gave it everything he had, and there was no way in hell I was letting go of that leash in a park full of people...and I didn't. That A-hole dragged me right off my feet and through the mud. I wasn't letting go. When he stopped, I was hanging on to that leash for dear life, on the ground covered in mud, scrapes, and bruises, looking up at a circle of people with shocked looks on their faces. Someone grabbed Ollie for me and offered me a hand. We never made it to the start line that day, and that was the last time I ever took Ollie to a race. 


Know your dog. Ollie was new to us at the time, and I didn't have a lot of experience with him around other dogs. I know now that he's an Alpha dog and he will not get along with any animal to doesn't succumb to his order of power. Bringing him into a large group of people and dogs we did not know was not a good idea. Ollie can be a sweet boy, as long as he gets his way...but that doesn't count, does it?


I used to go to the gym in the morning hours to run on the treadmill before work. One morning in a packed gym with my headphones in, ready to run, I stepped up on an empty treadmill. For some reason, the belt was already rolling, and I didn't notice, so as soon as my foot hit the belt, I went flying off the back. Everyone stopped to offer help, but luckily the only thing I bruised that day was my ego.


I'll admit I'm not the most graceful gal; it's the reason I run in the first place. Running is the perfect sport for uncoordinated people like me. I've taken many falls on the run, but this one wasn't due to my poor coordination. My mistake was not paying attention. I could have looked down and seen the belt moving, or heard it if I wasn't wearing headphones. Pay attention.


Back when I first started taking running seriously, I didn't see the need to spend a lot of money on fancy running clothes. I wore whatever I had in my closet. In my mind, I didn't want to spend money on clothes that were going to get sweaty. I would run in sweats in the winter and my five dollar cotton shorts in the summer. Who cares? Well, it turns out there is a reason they make specific clothes for exercise. 

I ran a 10K with my friend. I ran a great race and felt terrific! After the race, she asked someone to take a picture of us at the finish line, and she posted it on her social media page to share our accomplishment. Pride turned to embarrassment quickly when I saw the pictures later that day. My entire crotch area was soaked, it looked like I had peed my pants. I hadn't, of course. I was only sweating a lot, in cotton shorts. I made her remove the picture immediately, and I never wore cotton to exercise ever again.


To avoid embarrassing sweat spots anywhere on your body, avoid wearing workout clothes made from cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture which is why you get sweat spots; the material is absorbing your sweat. Choose technical gear made of a material with wicking-properties; usually in synthetic materials like polyester, spandex, and nylon. Wicking fabrics pull the moisture away from your body. It keeps you cooler, dryer, and you won't see sweat spots. It's also a good idea to avoid cotton in socks to keep your feet dry to prevent blisters.

These days I'm sure my workout wardrobe budget far exceeds my regular clothing spend.


My husband and I were on vacation in beautiful San Diego. We drove up to Encinitas to run the cliffs alongside the beach view. We had a fantastic run with gorgeous scenery in the perfect San Diego weather. We're used to running neighborhood streets in the debilitating heat of Texas, so all our senses were on high alert...except maybe one. We didn't smell this one coming.

After our run, we walked down the wooden stairs to get to the beach level to enjoy the water. As we passed another couple on our way down, this guy turned around and said: "Take a shower!" 

Now for this purpose, we'll assume my hubby was the stinky one (because he won't read this) and I've shared enough embarrassing moments about myself, why not? 


What gives? We showered that morning. We ran a couple of easy miles in cool weather. Why did we stink so much that a total stranger felt the need to tell us about it?

It's because when you buy those technical fabrics that I mentioned above, they require different care than the rest of your laundry. Bacteria gets trapped in the fibers of your clothing, and traditional laundry detergents only mask the odor rather than eliminating it. That's why the smell seems to come back to quickly, especially on your technical clothes.

The first step is to never wear workout clothes more than once without washing. If you're anything like me, you may wear your jeans a couple of times before throwing them in the laundry. (Ok, maybe it's just me.) Workout clothes are different. To avoid bacteria buildup, you have to wash them after every wear, even if you only sweated in them for an hour. Also, don't let sweaty clothes fester in a gym bag or at the bottom of a laundry pile. Let them air out and dry before washing.

You can avoid being the stinky gal or guy at the gym (or at the beach) by using a performance laundry detergent like HEX performance, made especially for technical fabrics to destroy the odor-causing bacteria, rather than just masking the smell with heavy fragrances. It will help extend the life of those expensive workout clothes, and your clothes won't stink. Future embarrassment averted! Use the discount code especially for my readers HEX-2A710 for receive 20% off a HEX starter kit.

Share your most embarrassing running or workout story. I know you have one. Tag me on Twitter at @leagenders 

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