May 24

Hydration for Runners – What Not to Do

When I saw the theme for this week’s RUN IT link up, I laughed out loud. If you know me at all then you know I’m a horrible hydrator. I’ve written about it, I’ve tried to get better, hell I even once had surgery because I think I’m chronically dehydrated. So instead of pretending I actually drink anywhere near the amount of water I should for the training I do, I will caution you to do as I say and not as I do.

Of course there will be four other much more intelligent and regimented runners who can help you with proper hydration in the Run It link up below, but let’s start with some fun at my expense.

Most hydration advice for runners is basically the same so I’ll go with the 4 Key Hydration Tips for Runners on Active.com and then tell you what I do instead:

PRE-HYDRATE TO RUN FAST

What they say: “Drink eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. Sports drinks and water are good choices, says running coach Cassie Dimmick, R.D. Iced coffee and tea are fine, too. Didn’t plan ahead? Fifteen to 30 minutes before going out, drink at least four to eight ounces of fluid.”

What I do: Wake up at 5:00am and have 8-12 oz of hot coffee, black with one sugar. I may have milk in my cereal if that’s my breakfast choice. I take a gulp of water before heading out for a run or swim at 8:30am. I have an advantage on the bike since I can bring water with me but I don’t think that’s what they mean by “pre-hydrating.” Oops.

The outcome: I don’t really feel the effects unless it’s a very hot day, then it’s a suffer fest, but I’m not sure I would feel a huge difference if I were pre-hydrated. Or maybe I’m just stubborn.

I like to post-hydrate.

GO COLD FOR LONGER RUNS

What they say: “Before going for a hot run, have a slushy made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink. To keep drinks chilled while you run, fill a bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with fluid before starting. Running a loop? Stash bottles in a cooler along your route, says Dimmick.”

What I do: Who has time to make a slushy before a run? I guess I would if I planned ahead but I have never done this. And, the only time I’ve had the pleasure of bottles stashed for me on a route is when I was marathon training with other women. One had an amazing husband who put out water and electrolytes for us and the other asked a good friend who happened to live on the route. Bless them.

The outcome: I remember being on a long run in the heat once and actually looking for hoses in people’s yards because I was going to turn it on and drink right out of it I was so thirsty! After that, I got a little better at bringing water with me but it’s still a complete PIA. Unless I’m running over 10 miles, I leave all liquids at home.

I love my Orange Mud hydration pack but have barely used it now that I mostly race shorter distances.

STAY ON SCHEDULE

What they say: “Note your thirst during your runs, and write down how often and how much you drink.”

What I do: Is it safe to say no one does this? I mean actually write it down? What the…?

The outcome: Apparently there is a way to have your watch beep every 15 minutes or something to remind you to drink or take in fuel. I probably need this because when I’m racing, I put off drinking on the bike (why???) and then I regret it in the run.

Drink up!

JUST HAVE A SIP

What they say: “For shorter runs when you want the benefits of a sports drink minus the extra calories, swishing just might do the trick. It’s also good news for runners who get queasy from ingesting a lot of sugar at once. But for runs over an hour, find a drink you can stand to swallow.”

What I do: I have never bothered to swish a sports drink. If I’m having electrolytes, I need them desperately and will swallow them down until the bottle is empty.

The outcome: I feel a lot better having sports drinks after a hot and sweaty workout. Since the NYC marathon debacle, I’ve started having half a bottle of sports drink prior to heading out into the heat and it works amazingly well. Baby steps.

In a perfect world, alcohol would have electrolytes!

Now that you know what NOT to do, here are some experienced runners who hydrate correctly and have the PRs to prove it:

angela | happy fit mama

 

laura | this runner’s recipes

 

 

nellie | brooklyn active mama

 

carly | fine fit day

 

Are you good or bad at hydrating?

Do you have any advice for me?

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