Runners with a Drinking Problem – Hydration
Ok so you have signed up for your marathon training and are out there logging your miles, some first timers and others are veterans. New or old sometimes we need a little guidance, knowing my people; we have to be reminded that our body needs to be kept up. Let me just touch on the subject of Hydration…
Our bodies are made up mostly of water. Water not only keeps you hydrated but it helps keep your body cool, lubricates your joints, protects tissue and rids the body of waste through sweat. Most of us, especially living in a hot, humid, climate, live in a state of constant dehydration. If you find it hard to keep up with your water intake, don’t forget you can find it through your foods. Fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, grapes, oranges etc. and veggies including tomatos, peas, eggplant, cucumber and lettuce are all good ways to add water to your diet. Foods that dehydrate you and should be avoided are: alcohol, coffee, Soy Sauce, cured meats, anything fried salty or sugary drinks, just to name a few.
How do we keep dehydration at bay? Running early in the morning (before 8am) will help prevent heat exhaustion. Try keeping a bottle of water with you during the day; you will need about 16oz several hours before your run. Carry water using an Amphipod hydration belt or in a handheld hydration system on runs longer than 30 minutes. Belts can carry between 10 to 40oz of water while a handheld will carry between 7 to 16oz. Don’t forget to keep a bottle in your car for after. When drinking during an activity, take small sips to keep hydrated. Be careful not too over drink or the sloshing liquid can upset your stomach.
Though water is good, it’s not enough for a runner. We also need to replace the electrolytes that we use during exercise. The grocery store electrolyte sports drinks are usually accompanied by unneeded sugars, calories and other unnecessary ingredients. I recommend visiting a running specialty store and look for products made specifically for endurance athletes. Yes you are an endurance athlete! Try replenishing those crucial electrolytes through pill form like Salt Stick or Endurolytes; through water mixes like Nuun, Ultima Replenisher, Vitalyte, or CarboPro; or through concentrated gels like Gu and Powergel. All of these are a great way to keep the body performing happily whichever method you choose.
You cannot wait until you feel thirsty to drink. The most reliable method to measure your level of hydration is by the color of your urine. You want light hay colored urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are. Other more advanced signs of dehydration are fatigue, sudden lightheadedness, muscle cramping, headache, and constipation. If you’re experiencing these symptoms then you have to intake more fluids. Do not ignore the warning signs. Doing so can put you into a more severe state of dehydration requiring medical attention.
Go drink some water.