Yes, marathon runners can and do stop to pee when they are running and there are many portapotties surrounding the route of the marathon.
Those who don’t mind about their finish time will be more open to detouring from their running route to find a portapotty and waiting in a queue if necessary.
However, some of these toilets or porta potties may be a considerable distance from the marathon route and may deter some runners from using them as they’ll be significantly increasing their race time.
People often find they’ll lose momentum if they take a toilet break during a marathon race so they try to avoid going as much as possible otherwise it makes it harder to get back up to pace.
Elite runners or those more determined to achieve a specific time for their marathon race will be more inclined to avoid using a toilet or a porta potty. There are many instances where elite runners have stopped on the side of the road to take a pee instead of going off course to try and find a private toilet.
There are also some elite runners or ultramarathon runners who have managed to nail the art of peeing whilst running so they won’t even have to stop, this is normally done by men in comparison to women.
Peeing whilst moving is very hard though and your body is so used to peeing when you’re motionless standing or sitting down so you’ll have to train yourself to be able to pee whilst moving to try and shave time off your race time.
Some people, especially older women may struggle to hold urine and suffer from incontinence issues so may find that they cannot hold it in like others. It’s not unusual for some runners to wear certain types of underwear to allow them to pee whilst they’re running.
Most experienced runners know not to eat or drink too much before a long race, otherwise, it could end up negatively impacting your pace and your finish time.
So knowing that most people may only experience the need to pee once or twice during the duration of their marathon, although this will depend on how quickly you can run it, as amateur runners may take 5 hours or more to complete it and will be less experienced in knowing how to control both their bladder and their mind when it comes to the need to pee.
Do marathon runners pee on themselves?
Yes, there are some instances where marathon runners have peed themselves or peed whilst running to try and stay on schedule for a good race time. However, the body finds it difficult to pee whilst moving so most people will have to train themselves to be able to pee whilst running in their race.
There is also specific running underwear that caters to runners who would rather pee themselves instead of finding somewhere private to do their business.
You may not even notice that a runner has peed themselves whilst running a marathon as they may be wearing clothing that dries quickly or they have drenched themselves with a bottle of water to look like you’ve accidentally splashed yourself or tried to cool yourself down when running.
Every runner is different and some may prefer to go pee in a more comfortable environment whereas some runners simply do not care and are focused on getting a great race time.
Should you pee before a run?
Yes, ideally you should aim to pee before going on any run but especially when running a marathon. You should also avoid over-hydrating yourself before starting your run otherwise you risk being caught short and having to detour mid-course.
There will always be plenty of opportunities to get water whilst you’re running so there is no need to overdo the hydration before starting your run. You should aim to stop drinking fluids at least 30 minutes before you begin your run.
What to do if you need to pee during a marathon?
If you need to pee during a marathon, then you can always choose the easiest option which is to go and find a toilet or a portapotty nearby as there will be plenty dotted around the marathon route for both runners and spectators.
However, if you’re determined to achieve a good time, you may be more inclined to pee on the side of the road, in a cup, or possibly behind a nearby tree to avoid wasting time finding a bathroom.
It is entirely personal what you decide to do when you need a pee, if you find it easier to pee yourself to finish the race in a quicker time then it is more than acceptable to do so.
Needing a pee can be a psychological thing and the more you think about it, the more you’ll need to go, so try and think about something else whilst you're running and you may forget that you need to go completely.
Try to avoid drinking lots of fluids and liquid foods before running your marathon otherwise, this will increase your need to go during the route.