Proper hydration and nutrition is very important during training and competition. If you don’t replace fluids and electrolytes as you run you may experience muscle fatigue, weakness, dizziness, confusion and even fainting. You can prevent this by having the right amount of fluids and energy replenishment. At the store, we carry a variety of hydrations belts and energy supplements. Feel free to ask our staff for advise of what would work out best for you. Meanwhile, read on for some tips and guidelines to keep you in top running condition.
1. Drink Even when you’re not thirsty.
It’s tempting not to drink when you don’t feel thirsty but dehydration can easily sneak up on you during your run. You’re losing fluid and electrolytes during strenuous exercise which needs to be replaced in order to maintain promote good blood flow to the muscles, supplying them with sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates they need for fuel. Drinking fluids also helps to cool your body and maintain a normal body temperature. During competition, a good general guideline is to drink 3 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. This averages out to grabbing a cup every other mile.
2. Even better: Know your sweat rate.
The most accurate method for determining your personal fluid needs is to take a sweat-rate test during your training. Weigh yourself naked before and after a hard one-hour run. Convert the amount of weight lost to ounces to figure out your sweat rate per hour. A loss of one pound means you sweated about 16 ounces of fluid (assuming you didn’t drink any fluids during the run). Going forward, you would try to replenish fluids at a rate of about 16 ounces per hour.
3. Consider Sports Drinks not just water.
The ideal marathon racing temperature is in the mid-50s, but if the temperature soars into the 70s or 80s on race day as it has in the past, you must drink more. Increase your fluid intake by sipping sports drinks, not just water. Sports drinks help to replace the potassium and sodium lost from sweating and are a good source for carbohydrates which fuel your muscles when they’re working hard. They’ve even been show to boost running performance. By replacing lost electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, you reduce your risk of developing a painful muscle cramp during your running session. If you plan on running longer distances, consider substituting a sports drink for at least a portion of your water. Most sports drinks will also replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, helping you avoid hyponatremia (low blood-sodium level caused by excessive water intake).
4. Chase your energy gels with water.
If you take gels with a sports drink you risk putting too much sugar in your gastrointestinal tract at once, which can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea. If you’re taking energy gels, just chase it water.
5. Choose the right hydration pack.
Make sure that the water belt you choose fits snugly around your waist. If it jiggles, it might bother you in your long runs. You can also opt for a hand-held water bottle for shorter runs. Make sure that the belt is always made of moisture wicking materials. It has to be able to remain dry. Feel free to try different water belts in the store and ask our staff for advise.
6. Develop a race-day nutrition and hydration plan.
When you’re tired and miles from the finish, you can’t always make the best decisions about refueling. Develop a plan ahead of time so you know what and when you’ll eat and drink. Be sure that plan includes drinking and consuming calories within 45 minutes to an hour after the start. If you wait too long, you might become dehydrated or run out of steam early in the race.
7. Pay attention to the color of your urine.
In the days leading up to the marathon you want to stay hydrated — but don’t drink obsessively. If your urine is totally clear, you’re drinking too much. If it looks dark like iced tea, you’re definitely not drinking enough. Pale yellow is ideal.
8. Start your recovery early.
Refueling after a race is essential to help your body recover quickly. Eat or drink about 200 or 300 calories of carbohydrates and some protein within an hour of finishing a race. The carbs refuel your muscles with glycogen, and the protein will help repair your muscles. Eat a full meal as soon as you are able to continue the recovery process. And remember to slowly drink fluids to rehydrate after you cross the finish line.
The most precise way to rehydrate yourself after a run is to weigh yourself to determine how much fluid you lost during your exercise session. You can then replace the lost fluids by drinking twenty ounces of fluid for every pound lost through sweating.