Hydrating on the run is an extremely important part of running, especially when it’s warm out, but lots of runners choose to drink very little while running. That’s why Patty, April and I chose hydration as our Tuesdays on the Run topic. I’ve learned the hard way that I need liquid on any run over 3-4 miles in the summer, so I carry a water bottle on pretty much every run as soon as it warms up around here. This summer, with all of my longer runs, and the 6 days a week of running, I’ve learned a lot about what works for me. Maybe some of what I do will help you feel better on the run.
- Hydrate before, during, and after. I don’t mean you need to be chugging down water or other liquids. I just mean be aware of whether or not your are drinking. I’ve gone out many mornings this summer without drinking anything but coffee between getting up and the run and I regret it pretty quickly.
- Have a hydration plan for your run. I usually run with a handheld water bottle (my favorite is the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld) Lately though, one bottle is not enough. It’s been hot and humid and my runs are long, so I need to have a refill plan.
- Pay attention to your body (and your thoughts.) Starting to feel like you have a dry mouth is an obvious physical sign. Fantasizing about an ice cold drink is also a good sign you need to find a drink soon.
- Use electrolytes. I’m not going to give you advice for what exactly YOU need as I’m not qualified to do so, but for me, I like to run with Nuun or Gatorade when it’s hot or I’m going far. I can really tell when I don’t have enough (I get nauseous). After a long hot run, I alternate between water and an electrolyte option or take a Salt Stick capsule.
- Practice drinking from a cup on the run or plan to walk through water stops. When I was coaching, my co-coach and I set up a practice water stop and had our runners practice grabbing a drink and drinking it. (After all the races I’ve done, I still get more on me than in me if I run through a water stop, so I generally prefer to walk through them.)
- If you want to avoid a sloshy tummy and frequent need to pee, start drinking small sips earlier, rather than waiting until you are needing to guzzle water. An ounce of prevention…
- Play with what works for you. Everybody has different likes and different sweat rates and different abilities to tolerate products, so it’s a bit of trial and error process. Start the process when your runs are shorter so you don’t end up racing for a bathroom or dehydrated on a long run. (Trust me, I learned this one the hard way.)
- If you are going to drink the ‘ade at a race, make sure you’ve tried that brand.
With my frequent double digit runs and the hot weather here, I’ve been having a hard time staying hydrated this summer. And even with all of the practice I’ve had, I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do for Marine Corps. I do know the water stops are not enough for me, so it’s a question of what I’ll wear or carry.