With temperatures soaring, now is as good a time as any to be reminded of smart ways to stay hydrated while training for your next race.
If you are training for a fall marathon, like Chicago or Philadelphia, you probably started training last weekend or this weekend. If you are like me, training to run a December marathon (Dallas or Sacramento), you’ll start training in late July.
Whatever the case, if you live in Texas or any of the southern states, its gonna be hot during every run.
Here are a few things I do to keep hydrated:
Monitor what I eat.
I try to stay away from heavy meals 10 to 12 hours before a long run. For example, if I have a 6 a.m. long run Saturday, I try not to eat anything to heavy after 6 p.m. Friday night. Why? According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes about 6 to 8 hours for food to pass through your stomach and small instestine; itll take even more time for digestion if you are having steak and potatoes or pasta and a heavy cream sauce for your Friday night meal. Of course, I didn’t need a study to know that I feel miserable during a run of any distance if I’ve gorged myself the night before, and even worse – way worse – during a run of any distance when its hot outside.
Monitor my alcohol consumption.
This is a hard one. The night before my marathon PR, I had two glasses of wine. But it was in December. And the temps at the start were in the high 40s. I could probably get away with an extra glass of wine the night before a run lasting less than an hour in the heat, but anything longer than that and I’m in trouble. I not only start the run severely hydrated, but no amount of water during the run can undo the damage done by the adult beverages from the night before. And, I’ve noticed its not just about limiting my alcohol the day before a long run, but I can’t go crazy two nights before either. At least not when its hot outside. For a Saturday run, I’ve basically got to “dry out” by Wednesday night to make sure that my kidneys are ready for Saturday.
Hydrate during the week.
I keep a 32-ounce water bottle at my desk and try to at least drink the entire bottle each day. I even have some Cliff Shot electrolyte powder I use to spice it up. At night, I promise myself that for every glass of wine I’ll also have a glass of water. Needless to say, I’m failing on both ends of this. First, I get bloated just thinking about drinking 32 ounces of water and two cups of coffee and the glass of tea/powerade I may have with lunch. Second, the fun of drinking wine at night is you get a decent little buzz. Water dilutes that buzz. Ok, ok. I know. Running is that important to me. I need to do better in this area.
Monitor what I drink during a run.
I’m trying to drink to thirst. Now, I know everyone says that during a run you need to drink drink and drink some more. And when its hot, thats kind of what I do. But sometimes, you can over do it. Sometimes, when I drink too much water during a run in hot temps, I get fuzzy headed. I mean, I’m feeling good then I stop for water, then I feel terrible. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, according to this blog I read, The Science of Sport, drinking when you are thirsty and not by some pre-set measurement is not a bad idea afterall. I’ve noted here before that I probably need to add some salt to my water. When I do that, I’m usually fine.
Monitor when I run.
Hmmm. The temps are in the mid to upper 70s in the mornings and in the mid to upper 90s in the afternoons/evenings. I think this is a no-brainer, though it is more humid in the mornings. Still, I like getting my run out of the way first thing. When I get off of work, I am not in the mood to do anything, much less run around with temps hovering around 100 degrees.
This is probably the most important thing you can do in the heat. If you can do your long runs at 7:30 pace when its 50 degrees outside, don’t be ashamed to knock a minute or more off your long run pace during the dog days of summer. No matter how much water you drink, running too fast is the surest way to overheat.