Leaking Urine While Running? These Three Tips Can Help!Apr 20, 2023
I work with many frustrated women, especially postpartum moms, that are limited in their mileage with running due to pain or because they cannot hold their urine mid-run. They commonly only experience this with impact-activities and in no other scenario. This is medically known as stress urinary incontinence, meaning the loss of urine during physical activity or high abdominal pressure situations like coughing, sneezing, or laughing. For some people, this does not stop them from running (yay!), and they cope with wearing pads while exercising. High-impact activities, such as running or jumping, are the biggest drivers in experiencing stress incontinence. Below are other movement and training strategies we can use to minimize these effects:
- Lean Forward. Start by leaning forward from your ankles and maintaining that forward lean throughout your run. Continue to keep your ribs over your pelvis to ensure adequate breath and core control. As we start to fatigue, we may lift our chest and our head falls back, which can make us vulnerable to leaking but also increased ground reaction forces at the the foot, ankle, and knee.
- Coordinated Breath. If you feel out of breath, this can be a sign to slow down your pace or perform a body scan and check in with your alignment above. If we cannot get good breath engagement, not only will we feel that in our effort of running, but it is also displaying we are not effectively using our core and transferring the load of impact adequately through our system. Try inhaling for four footfalls and exhaling for four footfalls until you feel back in rhythm, so to speak. Be kind with yourself here because this can feel like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time, but you will get there with practice.
- BONUS: Can you feel your pelvic floor lengthen and contract with this connection breath? This is the foundation of our core.
- Adjust Your Threshold. Are you always feeling like you leak at the two-mile mark? Or is it when you’ve been running for 40 minutes? Perhaps this is your system and pelvic floor telling you that this is the limit for right now. Now it is time to look into other aspects of training, such as lacking the single leg strength in the lower body, range of motion limitations affecting running mechanics, and lack of coordination of the pelvic floor beyond a certain point of activity. There are many other components to consider here, but this is where physical therapists are experts at intervening.
As a pelvic health physical therapist, I can not only assess the coordination of your pelvic floor muscles, but also integrate into your movement system as a whole for improving your performance. Come see us at our Decatur clinic for running assessment and reaching your potential. We are conveniently located across from part of the Stone Mountain Trail on West Howard Ave. to see your running in real time.
Dr. Krystal PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
Let us help you figure out to live your best active life today!
Remember, Movement is Medicine!