Bladder training

Is it possible to train your bladder to reduce the amount of pee breaks on a ride? Training your stomach to handle more carbohydrate, training your cardiovascular system and neuromuscular systems are all part and parcel of being an endurance athlete, yet I can’t help but feel some of the strengths and endurance gains made through structured training are somewhat wasted when hopping of the bike and peeing in a bush at the side of the road 3 or 4 times on a 4 hour ride. I never feel like I’m starting a ride over hydrated and always empty my bladder at the latest point before I set off riding.

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You’re drinking too much water and or not enough sodium.


This :arrow_up:

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What amount of sodium should endurance athletes consume in order to minimize the number of nature breaks required?

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No idea on guidelines but a pinch of salt per bottle and I’m good for 10.5hrs straight :sunglasses:


It is rare for me to need a pee break. 3-4 hours on the bike doesnt present a challenge. I dont tend to just drink plain water.

I think the question I would ask you though is are you going every couple of hours regardless of what you are doing or is this just on the bike.

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You need to adjust your intake to sweat rate etc. You naturally sweat more and drink more at higher temps, less so when it’s cold. This is why you shouldn’t be getting all your calories from what’s in your bottles as you are tying hydration to carbohydrates intake which may be miss matched needs.


I would also have to stop a few times on a 3-4 hour spin.
I did the Dublin marathon a few months ago and had to stop 3 times

It only seems to be an issue when exercising


If nothing else then it sounds like you have a lot more room to move with the osmolarity of your drinks. Either reduce your liquid intake so you’re lighter, or increase your carbs for likely better performance or electrolytes as needed.

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Yeah, probably not enough sodium or too much water. I also find that I have to pee more often during the winter though. Not sure if this is because of the sodium/water or if cold on it’s own is a factor. But I don’t have to pee at the same rate during the summer even though I drink ~50% more on long rides.


I had the same issue, and some of the folks here, along with @Dr_Alex_Harrison recommended that I increase my sodium intake. It made a massive difference. Not only did it reduce nature breaks, it also reduced my desire to drink too much. He currently has an app that helps you define the water, carb, and sodium you need per ride that is in beta, but will be released to the public soon. For now, I can tell you that I went from 350mg per bottle to 500-750 and it is a massive help.


Not typically no. I’m definitely going to try and reduce liquid volume and add a pinch of salt.

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Would it be appropriate to increase sodium the day or night before a big ride in some instances, particularly if you have a diet that is low in sodium? It seems like it would make sense to do that–I mean, if you are going into the ride low in sodium, taking in sodium during the ride may be “too late”?


As someone whose company’s main product line is consumer blood pressure monitors, I strongly encourage higher sodium consumption for everyone. :crazy_face::crazy_face::crazy_face:


I read somewhere that there’s a specific reason for this (probably on this forum somewhere) but can’t remember exactly what it was unfortunately. Made sense when I read it though. Helpful, I know :rofl:

I always wonder how people measure in the milligram range? I got a kitchen scale, but it’s not budging sub 2g.

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Probably less fluid lost through sweat due to colder temperature?

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No it was something about the change in blood flow when skin temp gets cold and putting extra pressure on the bladder. Wish I could remember where I saw it…

Sodium needs are going to be different for everyone. Heavy sweater, light sweater? Salty sweater, or no? Basically a “Pinch” of salt might not be nearly enough.

There are ways you can test, or it comes down to some experimentation. If I’m working hard and sweating a lot, I’m doing 1000mg of sodium per hour with whatever blend of carbs I want for that ride.

If I get up in the morning, have a little bit of water and a large cup of coffee I generally need 2 hours or so to get the fluids out before I jump back on the bike to make it through a 90 minute ride.

I use a gram scale I got off Amazon that does report to 100th of a gram and sodium citrate. 5g of Sodium Citrate = 1g (1000mg) of sodium.