Peeing When Running: Why It Happens and How to Stop It From Ruining Your Run

Jessica Lubahn 7 min read

peeing while running

Whether you’re in the middle of your 5k or you’re on the treadmill at the gym and it happens — the slow dribble that you can’t control.  

It puts a damper on your workout and leaves you feeling self-conscious. Both are a no-go for you.

But what’s causing it and how can you prevent it from ruining your run? 

In this article, we’re discussing why peeing when running occurs and what you can do to prevent it from happening any longer.

peeing when running

Table of Contents

Run with less stress

Is it Normal to Pee Yourself While Running?

Although it is not “normal” to pee yourself while running, it is more common than you think. 

Most adults will shy away from talking about their bladder leak problems, but it is VERY common. 

In fact, there are over 25 million adult Americans suffering from some type of urinary incontinence. So if you're peeing while running, know that you're among a large percentage of women who have the same issue. 

Around 51% of surveyed women experience incontinence while running. 

Most of the women surveyed had never even given birth, meaning their pelvic floor has never been damaged because of pregnancy or childbirth.

So why does it happen, aren’t runners supposed to be strong? 

You may have strong legs, but your smaller muscles are sometimes neglected  — so, why do you pee when you run?  Let’s look at what research says.

Why Do I Pee When I Run?

Runners who leak while they fly on the trails most likely suffer from stress urinary incontinence. 

This type of incontinence happens because you have weak or damaged pelvic muscles. The condition can also be hereditary, members of your families may also have it.  

Running, and other high-impact activities may wear out your pelvic muscles a lot sooner and increase the risk of experiencing incontinence before the age of 50. 

Stress urinary incontinence is one of several types of incontinence that you could have. This type of incontinence is the most likely to happen when you pee while running or do other physical activities. 

Stress incontinence can also happen accidentally when you:

  • Laugh
  • Cough
  • Sneeze, or 
  • Have sex. 

You may also experience stress incontinence when you do your pre-run and post-run exercises — generally, peeing when running happens when the increased activity induces pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. 

Stress incontinence does not relate to psychological stress. When doctors talk about stress they mean physical stress put on the bladder by outside action — stress that affects the bladder includes the stress of movement of the muscles of the abdomen and pelvis.

How Do I Stop Peeing When I Run? – Ways to Deal With Incontinence When Running

If you aren’t taking the right steps to overcome peeing when running, the issue will only get worse — unfortunately, stress incontinence is not something that goes away on its own. 

To stop peeing when you run, you have to take action to improve the strength of your pelvic floor, this can be done in several ways.

#1: Bladder Training

Bladder training is a program that involves urinating on a schedule. 

The goal is to gradually increase the amount of urine you can hold comfortably. It is usually used as a treatment for overactive bladders in men and women. 

Bladder training is often used alone, or in conjunction with medicines or other techniques — like those we’ll talk about in the following headings. 

Bladder training is considered a low-risk, low-cost training that does not always require the guidance of a healthcare professional and is typically done before any diagnostic tests are performed.

#2: Strengthening Exercises

Your pelvic floor muscles are the muscles responsible for releasing urine. When the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, urine may leak while running or doing other high-impact activities. 

Common pelvic floor exercises include: 

  • Kegel exercises
  • Squats
  • Bridges
  • Short contractions
  • Long contractions 
  • Etc. 

Strengthening exercises are a fantastic way to stop peeing when running, but you must consult your doctor or physical therapist before performing strength training exercises to ensure that you are not damaging your pelvic floor more. 

Worried about peeing while performing strength training exercises? While you learn these exercises, consider wearing leak-proof underwear like ONDRwear.

#3: Improve Your Breathing Technique While Running

 Although many people think that Kegels are the fix-all for peeing when running, or when dealing with urine leakage as a whole, this isn’t always the case. 

Your pelvic floor muscles make up part of what’s known as your “deep core”. Your pelvic floor muscles provide stability and support to your internal organs, as well as provide support for urinary and bowel functions. 

When you inhale, your diaphragm and your pelvic floor relax downward, while your belly and ribs expand outward. When you exhale, your pelvic floor and diaphragm draw up, and your belly and ribs draw inward. 

This is the range of motion that is vital to absorbing impact on your pelvic floor.

Practicing how to properly coordinate your breathing while running can help prevent peeing when running.  

why do i pee when i run

Peeing When Running: Why Staying Dry Is Important

Sportswear fabric is designed to take away moisture from the skin and keep the skin dry as much as possible, even when you sweat a bucket. When you pee a bucket, that’s another problem that Dry Fit clothing is not designed to fix. 

Runners can get into a lot of problems when they can’t keep their skin dry, including: 

  • Damp inner thighs can increase friction and give you a nasty rash or chafing. If you start to feel your skin start to burn, it may be best to stop running altogether before you develop a rash. 
Urine is also alkaline, just like your sweat it is salty. That means it can soak into the skin a lot faster than regular neutral water. 
  • For women, there is always the danger of infection when your pants are damp for too long. Moisture is not your friend, it breeds yeast and bacteria.

What Should You Do if Peeing When Running Occurs and You’re Unprepared?

Always wash with soap and water after a run. 

If you’re unable to shower, never neglect to wipe clean and keep as dry as you can. Urine can damage the skin and you’ll soon find yourself with a painful diaper rash. 

Some runners coat their inner thighs with petroleum jelly to reduce friction and hopefully avoid chafing, this can also help with keeping moisture from urine out of your skin.

If you chafe or develop a yeast infection in that sensitive area, you’ll need to take a break from running. Find other exercises in the meantime while you recover. 

There are several over-the-counter medications you can apply, but regular diaper creams usually work great if there is no infection. If you're concerned there is a bacterial or yeast infection, you will need to see a doctor for a prescription cream.

why do i pee when running

Stop Worrying About Peeing While Running —  ONDRwear Can Help You Remain Confident and Comfortable During Your Run

When dealing with urinary incontinence, it is vital to stay dry, and overcoming peeing when running whether through exercise, bladder training, or other techniques, doesn’t happen overnight. 

To help combat the risk of infection, rashes, or chafing while running, consider wearing super absorbent leak-proof panties, like ONDRwear

These are special underwear made for incontinence, menstrual periods, or any type of leak. ONDR underwear has an extra absorbent lining that prevents liquid from passing through.

ONDRwear feels just like normal underwear. They come in practical styles and are easy to wear under sportswear.

Sanitary pads may be too bulky when you move or run, but ONDR panties are perfectly positioned without the bulk.


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.