Tuesday, 12 August 2014

HydroPower - drink to run

In the old days, the answers to questions around what and how much I should be drinking would have revolved around types and bottle quantities of wine.

Alas, no more.

These days, what I'm wondering is exactly how much water I need to be drinking to keep myself well-hydrated on long runs.

There's plenty of different advice out there and I'm guessing that's at least down to the fact that we are all different. I've looked at lots of research and tried a few things out, so I'm getting a sense of what works best for me. What follows is the plan that I've put together for me, based on a number of different sources and some trial and error. You might need something a bit different depending on a load of factors including gender, the weather, and your fitness and activity levels.

Of course it's important not to drink too much water too as it can cause hyponatremia, which disturbs the body's delicate electrolyte balance and which can have serious health consequences. I saw that happen to my brother during a triathlon and it's pretty scary. He loses a lot of salt when he sweats, so he's recommended some electrolyte tablets to drop into my water for long runs, just in case. I'll look into that a bit more on another post.

Weeks & days before the run
  • In the days / weeks running up to the long run, drink at least 2 liters or 8 glasses spread over the course of each day - more if you've had a particularly sweaty day
  • Apparently you should be aiming for at least 6 heavy flow light straw colored pees a day
  • If you get to the point when you can hear sloshing about in your tummy, you've had enough
Two hours before the run
  • An 8oz glass (about half a pint) of water about 2 hours before run start
  • A second glass an hour before run start
  • Third glass 30 mins before run start, but stop if you hear water sloshing about in your stomach
  • Apparently, your body will get rid of what it doesn't need before you set off ... I'm not sure if I'm entirely convinced my body's that efficient, so I'll trial it and see
During the run

  • 10 - 12oz over the course of each hour drunk during my walk breaks
  • I'll drink more if I'm particularly thirsty, but not more than 20oz an hour and I'll stop if I hear water sloshing in my tummy

After the run

  • I'm planning on drinking a cold cold cold liter carton of coconut water, washed down by plain water until I'm no longer thirsty

So, that's my plan for this Sunday's half marathon. I'll see how I get on and then tweak it for longer runs as necessary. I just hope I don't spend the whole time trying to find porta-potties!!

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