triathletes cycling

Do Triathletes Wear Diapers?

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Staying hydrated in a triathlon is necessary if you are looking to compete to the finish line. Even a little dehydration can adversely affect your performance.

While taking in fluids and water is not an issue having to pee during a triathlon can be a problem.

Do triathletes wear diapers?

Triathletes do not wear diapers. Diapers tend to get heavy when wet, especially during swimming events. A soaked and heavy diaper can affect the performance of a triathlete. For this reason, they are not suitable for triathletes.

woman training for marathon, photo of the bottom of her shoe

In place of diapers, triathletes use triathlon shorts. Triathlon shorts have a thin pad, which will not get heavy. Hence, they can be used for the entire race.

In this post, we will examine how triathletes pee during some of the events of a triathlon. Read on to see.

Where Do Triathletes Go to the Bathroom?

Most triathletes do not have to pee often because of the hormones produced while they are competing. One of these hormones is antidiuretic hormone (also called vasopressin).

This hormone helps reduce the need to pee while triathletes exercise. They also sweat, which eliminates the need to urinate. However, if they take in enough fluids to stay hydrated, peeing once or twice during an event is normal.

The best urinating option available to triathletes is the toilet stops. These stops are placed at the bike aid stations.

Cyclists can find a toilet stop every 12-15 miles within the course. This will take about 30 minutes to get to for those riding at 20 miles per hour.

toilet stops in a marathon

During the running aspect of the ironman, toilet stops are placed at all aid stations. These stops are about 1-1.5 miles away. Depending on the speed of each runner, these stops take around 7-15 minutes to access.

The toilet stops for the ironman events are available to all athletes. Athletes can stop to pee whenever they want and not get disqualified for urinating in their clothing or on the track.

How Do Triathletes Pee?

Peeing During Ironman

Ironman triathlons consist of a 2.4-mile swim. This is followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and lastly, a 26.2-mile run, equaling a total of 140.6 miles. While it may not seem too difficult, it must be completed within 17 hours. Huge right?

There is so much excitement about finishing an ironman.  But one of the participants’ main concerns is how to pee during a race. There have been several horror stories of participants trying to pee while riding. But that is not our focus here.

There are several options available when the time comes to answer nature’s call during the ironman.

Portable toilets are stationed along routes, and they are easily accessible to the athletes. Some triathletes prefer using other options to help maintain their pace and save time. 

One alternative commonly used by participants is to pee in their wetsuit. Even with the portable toilets stationed along the course, you may not have time to pee before the start of the race.

Many triathletes use their wetsuit as a bathroom, and it is normal. For most athletes, this is the most common option.

Many triathletes usually have their wetsuits on even before the race starts. However, removing the wetsuit will take considerable time and stress before the start of the race.

To avoid stress, most athletes pee in their wetsuits while waiting for the race to commence. If you decide to do this, ensure you have some water on hand to wash off quickly.

For the cycling aspect of ironman, some athletes pee on their bikes. Some riders seem to have mastered the ability to pee on their bikes, while others use a different approach.

Most athletes do not always have to pee unless they ride slowly. In such situation, they can decide to stop at the portable toilets to urinate.

portable toilets for the triathletes

Triathletes may also pause their rides to take a pee by the side of the road. This option usually affects their time which is why some events have breaks where everyone can pee together.

While riding, some athletes just pee through their shorts. The athlete may not be judged for this act. However, it might be against the regulations of some races.

Besides losing time and going against the rules, you will lose concentration while peeing on your bike.

Peeing During Cycling

Having to pee while cycling is one of those troublesome yet compulsory tasks. Unfortunately, it does not improve performance. Peeing during cycling can be challenging, and if you do not address this, it can ruin your race.

Considering the exhaustion cyclists face, sweating takes care of most of their fluid intake. But with the need to stay hydrated and the length of the course, a cyclist will eventually have to pee. So, the question now is, how do they pee?

The frequency of urination varies among cyclists during races. Being able to pee while riding requires practice to succeed. Peeing is personal, so different cyclists use different methods.

For men peeing requires several conditions. They need to pee on flat areas of the cycling course where there is no wind. But then again, some cyclists may request assistance from other cyclists to keep them moving as they pee.

If their teammates are willing to give them a push, they pee and race simultaneously. To do this, they place their hands on the handlebars with one leg positioned against the top lube and their eyes looking forward.

Depending on how thigh your riding shorts are, you can reach through the top of the shorts or roll it up.

This should be done at the back of the pack to avoid being penalized by the officials. Provided it is done away from businesses or homes, you should have no issues.

Cyclists who cannot pee while riding may also pee in their shorts. This is usually the last resort for most cyclists, especially when no one is willing to stop and help.

To use this option, pick a slight slope where you will retain some momentum. Then put your weight on one leg while you unclip the other leg.

triathletes cycling

Next, bend the knee of the unclipped foot allowing the liquid flow to spill off your knee. This ensures the pee does not flow down into your shoe and prevents an undesirable fluid trail behind you.

Hurdling a huge metal barrier is all it takes to pee in the saddle. Those cyclists who have done it once will have no issues doing it again.

For female cyclists, their races are comprised of some long racing days. The peeing process for female riders can be a bit time-consuming.

A woman can remain standing while she pees if she is wearing bib shorts. But if anything goes wrong, this can be quite messy. It is probably better if she just squats when she pees.

Final Take

Triathletes do not use diapers as it may affect their performance when it gets wet and heavy. They wear triathlon shorts which have thin pads and are suitable for every event.

Besides these pads, they have several other peeing options, including portable toilets. So, you will find that some athletes pee in their wetsuits and shorts, while others stop by the roadside to pee.

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