In the Shamrock Marathon, I battled a force that had been absent throughout the course of my winter training….HEAT.*
As a former resident of Florida, I thought that I was pretty accustomed to running in higher temperatures and humidity – after all, my first 5K took place in August! Of course, running 3 miles is a lot different than 26.2, but I digress!
Yeah, so I can see why my foot hurt there at the end of the race! Ow, heel strike!
Anywho, what I am here to discuss today is proper hydration. Now, keeping hydrated is actually more complicated than making sure you’re drinking 8 cups of H2O, y’know – but not that much more complicated. See, when you’re working out hard, it sure feels great to take a swig of water, but in long-term sustained exercise, that sweat that’s drenching your fancy new running singlet is a yucky yet intriguing mix of quite a few different things – most notably sodium/electrolytes.
Now, I am not an expert on hydration (obviously) but if you want a point of reference, about.com recommends:
- 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs.
- Runners running faster than 8-minute miles should drink 6 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes.
- During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). The carbohydrates and electrolytes in the sports drink also help you absorb the fluids faster.
With this in mind, it really is no surprise that I was likely on the verge of hyponatremia (low blood salt level due to abnormal fluid retention) since I was taking water at the stations, but waited until later in the race to take Gatorade. Additionally, my one itty-bitty complaint about Shamrock was that the lanes to pass through water stations were kind of narrow, which meant it was really hard to avoid rogue tossed cups (which still contained liquids) which meant I had sticky shoes, or worse yet, soaked shoes (hello, my left foot around Mile 19ish).
In short, I determined that the best solution (for me, remember, everyone is different!) is for me to go back to carrying my own fluids. In my first Half Marathon, I ran with a Camelbak – but for a totally different reason: I thought that walking through the water stations would destroy my time! Turns out, it really doesn’t take too long to drink a cup of water and move on (who woulda thunk it!?) but the Camelbak, in my opinion, is just too hot for warmer weather races. For that race, it was fine (January in Florida) but when I tried to train with it in the summer, it not only felt too heavy and hot, but it chafed my back to the high heavens – it’s still scarred, almost a year later!
Of course, I had the pink one...
This particular accessory, while somewhat bothersome, was working out pretty well – until it met its demise in Morgantown, WV
. I did, however, manage to save the bottle portion, which I take to Bikram/the gym and I like it.
I’ve also tried the fuel belt – mixed results on that one. It kind of bothers me when I am running and I am not very coordinated in getting the bottles out efficiently without looking like a total spaz.
Based on these series of trial and errors, I have unscientifically determined that a hand-held hydration solution might be the best route for me…since a hand-held:
- Requires no extra coordination – no reaching/removing a bottle and having to place it back.
- Could carry extra stuff if needed.
- Might help with my bicep definition? (LOL)
Hah, really though, I want to find a good water bottle that:
- isn’t burdensome…
- keeps the liquid somewhat cold…
- is easy to drink out of…
I have a few contenders…
This bottle is stainless and has a really nice pocket to carry extra stuff but at $40, it is a bit pricey. Could be worth it though….
Nathan Quick Draw Elite
The Nathan Quick Draw series is pretty popular and I do like the bottle (same one as the old triangle back from above). I have a tendency to spazz /spill water a little with the valve but it’s not too terrible. Also, there are a variety of colors with this option.
CamelBak Quick Grip
This one holds 21 oz and since it is a CamelBak brand item, it has that love it or hate it bite valve. I personally do like it, but I also personally have some spazz moments with the valve and leaking…okay, perhaps I am the weakest link in the equation, but at least I own up to it ;)
There are some more that were recommended in a recent FitSugar list as well, but I have never seen those ones in person (the GelBot seems kind of intriguing, but I’ll take a pass)
What’s your hydration solution? Do you have something you’d recommend?
*Please keep in mind that dehydration or hyponatremia can occur in any temperature, not just heat; this is just my personal experience.