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Operation SuperCoach – To Pee Or Not To Pee During A Race

Sometimes I get to have the most random exchanges with my colleagues. Like this one.

“Hey! So, I had a client who decided to pee himself while doing a triathlon few weeks ago – in that last bit of the run – instead of looking for a porta-potty or dipping off the side of the road. The wet socks made him rather miserable, as you’d expect.

What do you do if you have to pee during your races? Does that come up often?”

Ah! Great question.

Having to pee during the race is a great sign!! Means you are hydrated. (Bonus points if your pee is NOT brown).

But, for shorter tri’s and road races, the whole peeing thing completely fucks with your time. It takes about 2-3 minutes, which is a LOT in a sprint triathlon or a 10k.

And I am still kinda bitter that my marathon time was 4:01:55. Yep, you guessed it – porta potty.

His time better be awesome after paying that price.

Now, does that come up often? If you drink appropriately, I would say every few hours is pretty normal. The alternative (not having to pee in a 12-hour event or longer is much more concerning).

What do you do if this comes up? In other words…


That depends. Let’s consider both options.


Road races. For shorter events, you rarely have to make that decision – before and/or after can do just fine. For longer events, there are porta-potties, so again, the decision is not too difficult.

Triathlons – easy. That’s what the swimming leg is made for. Anyone who tells you they never peed in their wetsuit is lying. On remaining legs, your choices include the porta-potty or perhaps, your client’s strategy – wet socks, and all.

Obstacle races / ultra races / trail races – anything that is LONG and in nature provides an opportunity for solitude. Usually the longer the race, the more likelihood that you will be on your own at some point. You step off trail, and pee. This one is actually MUCH easier for guys logistically – obviously. And to run by a guy who is peeing on a tree is a very common occurrence – it’s just “not a big deal” within the racing culture.

If the race goes into the night – again, easier. For extra long events like GORUCK, where you are in the city, there are often opportunities to abuse a local Tim Hortons or McDonald’s.

If the race (like an obstacle race) has a water section, which many of them do – see the triathlon rule above. You may not like the sound of this, but again – it’s true.

If none of the above work, then… you can just… you know. Pee. In your pants. This would probably be what happens in any event where you have very little control of where you are and what you do. Think Death Race or GORUCK Selection style events.

Racing in black is a must. And to be honest, the biggest concern here is not the ethical implications or anything else. It’s more of a chafing risk. I would do that (and have done that) only if I know there is NOT a lot of time left in a race – otherwise, this could make for a very miserable racing experience. (Chafing + urine = OUCH).


This is an option when it’s a shorter race. If I am racing an hour or less, it just ends up being race to the finish.

Besides, I’m a nervous pee-er (is that a word?) so, often times, i just keep having to go every fifteen minutes until the damn event actually starts. so, sometimes, if you start running hard enough, it goes away.

Now, pooping is much more difficult to manage. But again – been there, done that. Another blog post? ????

What do YOU say? To pee or not to pee?

Hugs, SOLO


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