The weather has been unseasonably warm in Illinois and as I have been completing my pre race training for the Chicago Marathon hydration has become a concern for me. Typically, I am someone who does not stop for a drink on a run. Drinking while running makes my stomach upset. Although, I did not drink or stop during my entire half marathon, I think a full 26.2 miles will be a different story. Therefore, I started some research about proper hydration and I really like what Coach Joe English, from Running Advice and News has to say about it:
Ten things runners and triathletes need to know about hydration
1. You need to be well hydrated before you start your run or workout. If you start partially dehydrated, it only gets worse from there.
2. The color of your pee should be pale yellow, rather than clear or dark yellow. It should look more like lemonade than orange juice.
3. How much you need to drink depends on how heavily you sweat. The more you sweat, the more you need to drink.
4. Electrolytes are lost along with fluid when you sweat. You need to replace these electrolytes through an energy drink, electrolyte solution or electrolyte tablets.
5. If you don’t replace electrolytes, particularly sodium, you won’t be able to absorb the fluid you’re drinking. This means that you could be drinking plenty, but not re-hydrating.
6. Dehydration leads to a loss of performance, cramps, digestive problems, and ultimately an inability to cool the body. These progressively worse problems will eventually stop you in your tracks.
7. Drinking too much plain water can also be a problem. Drinking lots of plain water can dilute the sodium level in your blood, leading to a problem called hyponatremia. This is why it is important to use a hydration product to replace electrolytes.
8. The term “drink to thirst” means that you should not drink just for the sake of drinking. You need to drink an amount of fluid that replaces what you’re losing in your sweat.
9. You may not actually feel “thirst” while running or racing. If you don’t ever feel the sensation of thirst, don’t make the mistake of stopping drinking completely. Continue drinking fluids in a moderate quantity to make sure that you’re getting what you need.
10. You should constantly be working to find the best method of hydration for you in your training runs. You need to learn how much you need to drink; what energy/fluid replacement drinks work best for you; and what it feels like to be well hydrated.
11. On race day, do what you’ve practiced in your training runs. Don’t try anything new. If the race supplies a hydration product that doesn’t work for you, make sure to carry your own drink in a fluid or powdered form so that you have what you need.
Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News
My favorite point that Coach Joe English highlights is point number 11. "On race day, do what you’ve practiced in your training runs. Don’t try anything new." I think this is solid advice. Why is it that during the heat of the moment we decide to try something new? Is it the effect of adrenaline? Clearly, neurochemicals and impulsivity have a close relationship. Nonetheless, I will keep this solid advice close in my mind when I am completing my first marathon.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, hydrated day!