A Runner with a Drinking Problem

I guess it’s not really a drinking problem.  It’s a not drinking enough problem.  In my early days of training for a marathon, I would drink a descent amount of water or Gatorade before my long runs.  I found myself half way into my runs with a dilemma; could I “hold it” till the end of the run?  For the remaining miles, I would be tortured trying to a coffee shop or a find a suitable space.  After more of these type of experiences I have learned to drink less and less during my runs.  This may have reduced my bathroom breaks, but its add some performance and recovery problems.

According to the Journal of Athletic Training, dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.  It negatively affects your running performance during the run, and slows your ability to recover for the next day’s workout.

Experts suggest drinking 8 to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run depending on how warm it is outside.

Hydrating During your runs:

ONE HOUR OR LESS

3 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is usually fine. For a tough run over 30 minutes, consider a sports drink to give you a kick of energy at the end.

ONE TO FOUR HOURS

3 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. A sports drink with carbs and electrolytes will replenish sodium.  Prefer gels, chase them with water to avoid sugar overload (and other problems).

OVER FOUR HOURS

Drink 3 to 6 ounces of sports drink every 15 minutes, after which use thirst as your main guide (drinking more if you’re thirsty and less if you’re not).

POST RUN

Replace fluids, drinking enough so you have to use the bathroom within 60 to 90 minutes post run.  Usually 8 to 24 ounces is fine, but it varies based on running conditions.

Looking at the past couple weeks, my hydration during 1.5 hour runs is 4 ounces of Powerade  on the way out the door and if a remember a 4 ounce bottle to bring, I get to have it halfway through the run.  That a total of 8 ounces.  If I follow the guidelines mentioned above, I should have had at least 20 ounces.  Plenty of room for improvement.   Tomorrow is the Martha Vineyard’s 20 Miler, and because of the amount of water stops along the route, I should be able to carry out my new water regiment.

I’ll update next week on my progress.  I can then work on my next task, stretching.

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