May 12, 2020

From The Couch To A Marathon

Posted on Dec 27, 2020 under dehydration, hydration, water |

OK, I admit it. I don’t really like drinking water. I know all the tricks and I do like the feeling of ice cold water running down my throat and into my stomach, but I am not a big fan of constantly sipping water. It drives me crazy!!!

Unfortunately, I spend most of my life dehydrated. Turns out, I’m not the only one. While exact figures vary by study, one thing hydration studies have shown is that people spend most of their life mildly dehydrated. While this isn’t good for any of us (dehydration can cause that sluggish feeling, headaches, some swelling/bloating and thirst) it is especially bad for those who are doing major exercise, like, say, training for a marathon?

With my own dehydration causing problems as of late (in the form of headaches and thirstiness) I knew I needed to do something. So off to the Internet  I go for some research.

According to The Mayo Clinic the average man should be getting 3 liters of water (13 cups) a day and women should get 2.2 (9 cups) a day. They do state that you can get this from other beverages, but the water content is diluted and they will provide calories and some have side effects (like caffeine or alcohol). You can also get this from more water based fruits and veggies, like watermelon and tomatoes.

One thing The Mayo Clinic points out, though, is that exercise WILL effect the amount of hydration you need. To solve this problem, check out Know Thy Sweat Rate. This is a great guide from Runner’s World on figuring out how much you sweat during your runs and how much you should be drinking during them.

 

Ok, so we need to keep our fluids up, we get that! So my next question was “How should all that water be broken up?” There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer on this. Some suggest drinking water with every meal and snack. Others suggest you drink a certain amount every hour. That one, I will leave for you to decide.

Everyone agrees that if you are running, you should be drinking at least three to six ounces for every 15 minutes you run. For a 60 minute or less run, one of those water bottles you pick up at your local market in a 24 pack is plenty. Once you pass the hour mark, you should start adding in some carbohydrates, so have something like Gatorade. If you prefer your carb in gel form, chase it with water to help your hydration.

 

If, like me, you have trouble drinking your water, you can try a few things:

1. Add a small twist of citrus fruit (think a slice of lemon or lime). Not my favorite thing, but a lot of people love it. It’s always a good place to start. If you aren’t worried about calories or ingredients, try a powder drink like Crystal Light for flavor.

2. Keep a reusable water bottle around and track how much you refill it. I have a 24 ounce Brita bottle I use and I know I should have to fill it 3 times a day minimum.

3. Set a timer or use a preset amount of time. If you are at home, a normal kitchen timer works well. Your co-workers might not like an annoying beep to remind you to drink your water, though. Instead, swing by the office cooler every hour. It gets you up from your desk (helps from getting stiff) and gets your water in you. Win-Win!

4. Use a camera. Most phones now have cameras, so snap a pic every time you have a glass! If you aren’t sure you’ve had enough, look at the photos and check! Just remember to delete them at the end of the day so you can start fresh tomorrow.

Related Article - Drink More Water To Lose Weight and Be Healthy.

5. There’s an app for that. If you have a smart phone, you can track your water! There are certain apps specifically for drinking water. One I tried was called Drinking Water by Chickpin (link goes to the Android market. That’s what I have. I don’t know if iPhone has a similar app, check your market!). It has a water running sound and a little water glass in your top bar to remind you to drink your water. Since I now use the SparkPeople app to track my food intake, I now use their water tracker.

You might also find the following blog post interesting: Beat the Heat: 5 Tips to Stay Hydrated

 

The important thing for all of us is to drink up! Get your water. It will make you feel better, make you look better (dehydration makes your skin dry and sallow), and it will make you perform better! Even a slight dehydration can make a big difference in your running, so drink, drink, drink! Get plenty before, plenty during and plenty afterward. Your body will thank you!

Related Blog Post - How I Drink Enough Fluids