This is for my newbies, the new runners who are just starting. A lot of you have asked me how to maintain weight loss when running or ask what I do when I'm thirsty, or ask if I drink soda or if they can still drink alcohol when training for their first race.
If you ask anyone who knows me personally, they will probably tell you I drink a TON of water. Water for me is my biggest necessity... I mean, next to my soy vanilla lattes! I get so surprised when people tell me they barely drink a bottle a day! I, too, didn't drink water so religiously. I mean, my idea of hydration was Starbucks twice a day so trust me when I say I'VE BEEN THERE. I aim to drink a full bottle when I wake up and a full bottle before bed and tons of water in between that time as well.
The human body is made up of 60% water, which can make staying hydrated while running an exhausting challenge. Everyone intakes and expels water in different ways so there's no magic formula for it. When you start running, or take up any new physical activity, hydrating early and often and monitoring urine color (aim for light, lemonade yellow) tend to be the biggest keys to a successful run! Also, it's key to weight loss! I mostly drink water (8 500mL water bottles at bare minimum) and I have one 16oz soy latte on most mornings as well. I do reward myself with red wine often too. I like Cabernetbut do not drink hard liquor at all. Once you learn how to hydrate yourself properly, your goals for a marathon, next big race, or weight loss will fall into place!
It may take time before you can comfortably intake water regularly to be prepared for a long run, but be patient with yourself. During your training period, carry a water bottle WHEREVER you go. The last thing you want to do is chug a bottle prior to a run. Trust me, you'll feel it. What I like to do is keep a case of water in the trunk of my car or keep bottles at my desk so I never have an excuse to not drink it.
There's also gear out there for those runners who want to stay constantly hydrated during runs too. They have hydration backpacks such as Camel Bak, which is strapped to your back and come in several sizes. I personally have never used one, but was told it fits like a vest and has it's own drinking tube. It can hold a lot too such as phone, keys and wallet. There's also a hydration belt, which can hold 16-21 oz bottles as well as a fuel belt which usually hold up to four 8 oz bottles that slip into little holsters. Last, there's the good old handheld bottle. It slides over your hand, creating a natural grip and most of them come with a little pouch where you can stash gels or a card.
Now comes to the question.... Water or sports drinks?! I am that runner who drinks water throughout months of training then when race day comes I drink all the electrolytes offered along the course! Now, I would advise you guys to try electrolytes during training runs because they don't sit well with everyone. I would recommend Nuun since they are a sugar free tablet and they're tasty!
Here are some quick tips for staying hydrated during your big race day!
- Drink small amounts of fluids if you’re thirsty, but don't force yourself to drink.
- Add electrolytes to your prerace fluid consumption, in capsule form and/or include some sports drink to your intake.
- Alternate taking water and sports drink during the race; water at one aid station and sports drink at the next one.
- When aid stations are frequent, like every mile, take fluid at every other station.
- Try salty snacks like pretzels or crackers for alternative run nutrition.
- Take electrolytes during training runs and/or races.
- Avoid taking any NSAIDS before or during the race if at all possible.
- Eat a good prerace breakfast, one that you are familiar with like a bagel with peanut butter and a sports drink.
- Stop drinking if you hear or feel your stomach sloshing.
- If you don't feel well, get to the medical tent quickly.