Leaking with running is common, but not normal. Here are 4 ways you can help yourself reduce instances of urinary incontinence while running:
1. Warm-up your pelvic floor before you run
Warming-up is essential to preparing your brain and body for increased movement and intensity. You probably pay attention to warming-up your legs by doing some quick quad and calf stretches and maybe some dynamic leg swings. Some of you may start out walking for a minute or two, then start jogging and proceed into your run. By warming-up your pelvic floor and core muscles for the increased tasks assigned to them, you can help to keep from peeing while running.
- Perform 5 dynamic breaths where you breathe in through your nose to fill your pelvic bowl with your air to relax the pelvic floor musculature, then exhale through your mouth to contract the musculature. Ideally, you are feeling movement “down there” and in your low deep abdomen and back.
2. Add in strength training
If you only run for exercise, you are missing a huge aspect of conditioning to help you run faster and longer without leaking. Running is a movement in one plane - forward - and other muscles can become uncoordinated and weak due to neglect. Adding 1-2 days of strength and conditioning will help you not only become a better runner but help you decrease your leaking with runs.
- A routine that includes compound exercises like squats, lunges, single-leg bridges, single-leg dead-lifts, farmers carries and core strengthening will go a long way.
3. Retrain your bladder
You pee before you run, then a few minutes in you feel like you have to again! You don’t understand because you haven’t had anything to drink in the past 2 hours to prevent this from happening. What’s the deal? A few things can be happening to cause this. Because you haven’t had much water, your urine is very concentrated and irritating your bladder lining. That can make you have the urge to go. Another factor is that you are nervous you are going to leak and psychologically triggered the urge to go, even though your bladder isn’t nearly full enough. Finally, if you consistently use the toilet a few minutes into your run, you have likely trained your brain to cue the urge to go at that point in time. So what do you do?
- Tell yourself you can make it another 2 minutes and then you’ll use the bathroom.
- Distract yourself with singing, focusing on running form, thinking about what to make for dinner - anything to get your mind off the urge.
4. Check your posture
Running with your chest up high and your ribs flared up and out causes an imbalance in the core system which will result in a coordination issue with your pelvic floor.
- Run on an incline - this causes you to lean forward and can automatically align your rib cage over your pelvic bowl.
- Improve your rotation during running by performing more of a gliding movement in your running, rather than an up and down jumping movement. Think about swinging your arms front to back (shoulder touch, hip touch) rather than side to side.
Looking for more tips on how to stop leaking with exercise? Join the private Facebook Group Bladder Queens here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/323366505265094/