Marathons can be daunting, especially if you are a beginner. After all, 26.2 miles isn’t a mere walk in the park. But for some reason, more and more people continue to take on this challenge every single year.
However, aside from the long-distance itself, another aspect of a marathon that often leaves people intimidated has something to do with bathroom breaks. What do marathon runners do when nature calls? Do marathon runners pee themselves?
Yes, there are many instances when marathon runners pee themselves or peed while running to ensure that they will stick to the schedule and achieve a good race time. The human body, however, has a hard time peeing while moving. This is why most people need to train themselves first so they can pee during their race.
You can also find special running underwear that specifically caters to marathon runners who choose to pee themselves rather than look for a private spot where they can do their business.
You probably wouldn’t even notice it if a runner has already peed during the marathon run because they might be wearing quick-drying clothes. Some might also drench themselves with water to make it seem that they have splashed themselves by accident or tried to cool down during the run.
Just remember that all runners are different and unique. It means that some might prefer to pee in a more comfortable setting, while others probably don’t care at all and focus only on achieving their target race time.
Is It Normal for Marathon Runners to Pee Themselves While Running?
While it is not necessarily normal per see to pee yourself when running, this occurs more commonly than you think.
Yes, many adults shy away from discussing their bladder leak concerns, but it is a very common occurrence. Believe it or not, there are millions of adults all over the world who suffer from some form of urinary incontinence or another.
It means that if you ever pee while running a marathon, don’t worry because you are just one of the many people who experience the same problem. Most men and women have reported experiencing incontinence during a run.
Why does it happen, then? Marathon runners are meant to be strong, right? Well, even if your legs are strong, you have probably ignored some of your smaller muscles.
Why Do Marathon Runners Pee Themselves When Running?
Marathon runners who pee themselves while running the trails possibly suffer from the so-called stress urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence takes place because you have damaged or weak pelvic muscles. It can also be a hereditary condition, which means some members of your family might have it as well.
Running as well as other forms of high-impact activities might result in premature wearing out of your pelvic muscles, increasing your risk of suffering from incontinence before you even reach 50 years old.
Stress urinary incontinence is just one of the many types of incontinence that a person could develop. This form of incontinence will most likely happen if you pee when running or performing physical activities. The condition can also take place accidentally every time you cough, sneeze, laugh, or engage in sexual activities.
Stress incontinence may also be experienced when performing your post-run and pre-run exercises. In general, peeing while running happens because the increased activity has induced pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
Take note, however, that stress incontinence has no relation whatsoever to psychological stress. The word stress here refers to the physical stress that the outside action has placed on the bladder. Stress that can affect the bladder includes the stress of movement of pelvic and abdominal muscles.
Is There a Way for Marathon Runners to Pee Less During Marathons?
If you don’t want to worry about peeing while running a marathon, the good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent it from happening.
One way for marathon runners to lower the need to pee during a marathon is to cut back on their water intake. However, it is not always a good idea.
When you run for a long period, your body will produce sweat as a way of helping you cool down. In turn, it can make you suffer from dehydration if you don’t drink sufficient water.
One more interesting thing is that some evidence also shows that if you start your run well-hydrated, you will less likely feel the need to pee while you continue with your run. It is all because of the antidiuretic hormone that lowers the amount of urine flowing into the bladder.
You also need to note that you can also lessen the urge to pee if you stay calm. Getting very anxious and excited might only lead to more pees. Thus, it helps to stay collected, calm, and cool when running a marathon.
Tips to Pee When Running a Marathon
Just because you feel the urge to pee while running a marathon doesn’t mean you can just pee yourself. Follow the tips below to relieve yourself during a marathon run:
1. Look for a secluded spot.
A toilet is always a given. But if you really need to pee and there is none available in your current location, your next best option is to find a secluded area in the surrounding environment.
Try to look for a secluded nice spot. See to it that the area where you choose to pee is not private property and will not cause damage to things you might come into contact with.
2. Find a lookout.
You will likely need a lookout if you plan to pee in a portapotty or designated toilet. But if you have to do your business outside, you might feel more comfortable if there is a nearby designated lookout who can tell you if someone is coming.
3. Always plan your stops in advance.
If you are too focused on finishing your marathon within a specific time frame, you can lessen the time it takes to pee if you plan your stops during your run. If you are running a marathon with a planned and clear track, runners are given privy to details ahead of time regarding possible toilet pit stops.
4. Prepare a toilet roll.
This one is more important if you will be going number two instead of number one. It is often recommended for ultramarathons rather than standard marathons. It won’t definitely hurt to carry some toilet rolls if you got some space.
Where to Pee During a Marathon
As stated above, you need to look for a secluded spot where you can pee. Here are some of the best locations you can consider:
● Behind a
For extreme situations where there is no designated toilet in the location and no surroundings where you can seek cover, your last option is behind a blanket or anything that can shield you.
● In a restaurant or café
Choosing a commercial outlet or public restroom requires advanced planning and some thought. In cafes or restaurants, for example, it is customary to buy something first before you can use the toilet. See to it that you ask for permission to use the restroom if this is what you plan to do.
Most designated races often have porta-potties provided and are often the best choice for runners looking for a spot to pee.
● Wooded Area
In general, it is perfectly fine to pee out in nature as long as you do it discreetly and at a minimum of 200 feet away from any water source. If you are running on a trail, for example, you can stop behind a tree or anything similar provided that is not anywhere near a stream. Generally speaking, urine is sterile and won’t likely cause any serious damage to the nearby surroundings.