Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hydration 101

It is no big secret that I am terrible at hydrating. Some days I'll go the entire day without having anything to drink. I mentioned a few days ago that I was feeling unstoppable and I credit it to taking care of my body. I truly believe that fitness comes from within, meaning that what we put into our bodies is just as important as how hard we train. Because I have always struggled with drinking enough throughout the day I wanted to share some of my tips that I have found to work.. Most of the time.

1. Start the day off with something to drink. By having something to drink in the morning, even if it is orange juice or a smoothie, I have found that I am more likely to drink throughout the day also. A lot of people say you shouldn't drink your calories but I like to drink something a little more filling in the morning.

2. Brink a water bottle with you. I try to always bring a water bottle with me to class. Sometimes I will only have a few sips throughout the day but that is still better than nothing. I always find that it is much more difficult to buy a drink during the day than just grab something in the morning to bring along.

3. Dink with every meal. I have a tendency to not drink anything and then overeat. Then I try to drink a lot later but end up feeling like I am going to burst because I am so full. Smart plan, I know. If I drink with my meal then I save myself from all of that trouble.

4. Drink extra on days when I'm running. There have been many days where I don't drink enough and then I feel dehydrated while I'm running. Even if I don't drink on the days when I am not running (not recommended), I try to always drink extra on those that I am running.

5. Know how to hydrate during my runs. I never used to drink anything during my runs and boy what a mistake that was. I still haven't figured out how much or when to drink during runs but something is better than nothing. Lately I have been experimenting with water, Nuun, and Gatorade. So far I like Nuun the best. But I think it is really important to experiment and find out what works best for you.

Since I know that I like Nuun, my job now is figure out how to drink during runs. I want to feel hydrated but not over hydrated (hyponatremia). I recently got an email from Runner's World about their nutrition guide, which has a whole section about hydrating that I have been consulting to figure out this problem.

What I have figured out so far is..

  • I don't need to drink anything on runs 30 minutes or less unless it is hot outside or it is a really hard run
  • If it is a run between 4-6 miles I will bring water with a half tab of Nuun
  • For runs between 6-10 miles I will bring water with a full tab of Nuun
I haven't done many long runs so I am not sure if I need to bring more with me, but I will be figuring that out shortly. This is all a learning process so things may not always go the right way but it is worth it to figure out what works for me.

What are your rules regarding hydrating? Do you bring a drink with you on runs?

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