Tips for Staying Hydrated

Thanks to Melissa McDonough, RD, CSSD and Coaches Julie & Lisa @ Run Farther and Faster for providing much of this content.

Summer running means sweat, slower paces, and serious tans (please apply sunblock before heading out the door!). Just because it’s hot outside, doesn’t mean you need to scrap your run. Appropriate hydration techniques will help get you through those sizzling days.

Dehydration can lead to serious complications, so staying hydrated should be a main focus for runners and non-runners alike. Depending on the climate, you should aim to get about 2 to 4 L of water throughout each day – approximately 8 to 16 cups.  You may need to modify your total fluid intake each day depending on how active you are, or for factors such as gender, weight, age, heat, humidity and altitude.

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Tips for improving hydration:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day and sip frequently
  • Eat foods high in water content such as fruits and vegetables
  • Use cut fruit or fresh herbs to flavor your water. Or try adding a cinnamon stick!
  • If you’re not a fan of still water, make it bubbly
  • Drink tea (low or no-caffeinated such as herbal or green tea is best)

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How hydrated am I?

To know if you are hydrated, it’s a good idea to check your urine.  Urine that is darkly colored (think apple juice) and of relatively low volume signals that you need to drink more.  Note that if you take certain medications or vitamins (specifically B vitamins) your urine will be a different color. 

How much water should I drink before my run?

Staying hydrated throughout your day and week will help when you’re ready to run.  To gear up for a run, be sure you are having about 1 ounce per 10 pounds of body weight 3 to 4 hours before your run. This would mean a 150 pound runner would need approximately 15 ounces of water (about 2 cups). 

How much should I drink during my run?

Drinking by thirst on your run is not that reliable.  As humans, we’re easily distracted, so we may not be as in tune with our thirst signals (especially if we’re focused on making it up the hill!).  And sometimes, water isn’t always available, so you may be thirsty, but there’s nothing to drink.  Third, if you’re thirsty, you’re likely already slightly dehydrated.  Runs lasting less than 60 minutes may not require fluid intake, but consider your sweat rate and the conditions.  During a run, you may need anywhere from 0.5 – 1.5L per hour.  Practice drinking during your training runs to acclimate your stomach.  To assess the ideal fluid intake for you, it is best to consult a registered dietitian. 

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I tend to sweat a lot during runs (no matter the climate), so I always carry a hand-held water bottle on my runs that are longer than 45 minutes, especially in the summer months. Carrying water takes some getting used to, but the small annoyances are worth it for adequate hydration!

Should I try a sports drink?

Sports drinks can be a good option when you need to get in fuel before or during your run and you don’t want to eat something.  Also, we tend to drink more when something is flavored.  You may find you like certain brands or flavors better.  When choosing to use a sports drink, consider that 1 cup (8 ounces) has 15g of carbohydrate along with electrolytes such as sodium.  Drinking a sports drink will add calories and fuel in the form of carbohydrates for your run. 

Here is some additional guidance on sports drinks vs. water.

Disclaimer:  The above nutrition tips do not substitute for medical advice from a physician.  Consult with your physician and a registered dietitian, especially if you have a known medical condition.

How are your summer runs going? Do you carry water with you? If so, how?

Favorite sports drink? Do you enjoy nuun/gatorade/tailwind?

Have a Happy Thursday! xx

 

 

 

Canyon City Marathon Review

Happy weekend! Hope yours is off to a great start. I’m heading out on my favorite running path in a few minutes but wanted to stop by to write about one of my previous races since some of you are working towards a BQ!

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Last November, I ran the Canyon City marathon just northeast of Los Angeles (Azusa, CA to be exact). Mark had a work trip in Palm Springs and asked if I wanted to join. Without hesitation I said yes and naturally proceeded to research the local races being held that weekend.  This REVEL series marathon and half marathon were on the list, and situated between LA and Palm Springs, so we signed up!

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Findmymarathon.com touts this race as being the #1 fastest marathon in the country, a solid BQ option. I would say that unless you have appropriately trained for severe downhill running (i.e.- no give whatsoever in the first 13 miles), then this might not be a PR for you.

Here are my takeaways from the Canyon City marathon:

  • After running a 1:37 first half, I crossed the finish line in just under 4:00 hours with an incredible positive split. They always say that PRs are made from negative splits (i.e.- a race strategy where you complete the second half of a race faster than the first half). This marathon was not designed for negative splits. The first 13.1 is severely downhill (no give whatsoever), the second 13.1 with rolling hills where even flat grade feels uphill after the intense downhill. The slight bumps in the second half are not inconsequential. Recommendation: proper downhill technique is a must to conquer this race.

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  • Mental game with the change in elevation profile is also essential, and it was lacking for me on race day. As soon as my legs started to cramp at the half-way point, there were few spectators for encouragement and I mentally succumbed to the challenges of this marathon. I was disappointed in myself for allowing these thoughts creep in, and I am continuing to work on my mental strategy and mindset for these situations. I think that I should have just been honest with myself from the beginning that I wasn’t mentally and physically prepared for this race after signing up on a whim. Recommendation: keep your mental game in check and know why you are out there!

  • This is a scenic race. Situated deep in the San Gabriel Mountains, you feel like you’re trail running but able enjoy the easy pavement terrain. Recommendation: take in the spectacular sites along the way. Starting near the summits of these mountains awards you with special views and feelings of being a badass trail runner.

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  • Even though the race is held in November, and the location has a relatively dry desert feel, race day temperatures can rise significantly and result in all kinds of problems, especially if you’re not good in the heat. California can get warm no matter the time of year- race day temperatures reached 80 degrees in Azusa (the finish line). Recommendation: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Can’t drink enough water and electrolytes before, during, and after the race.

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  • Overall, this felt more like a local race than an overwhelmingly large, corporate race. The organization and direction was top-notch, from the bus transportation to the start, a starting line with plenty of goods and porta potties, and more than enough water stations along the course. I met some interesting people at the start and on the bus, mostly local to the area and mostly just running the race for fun.

Would I run this race again? Unless I am able to adequately train on miles of downhill roads (uncommon in the Boston area), I am not certain I would run this race again. There are many other races out there that area more BQ-friendly for my quads and soul. But thanks Canyon City, for running a scenic, challenging, lovely race that I could add to my list of accomplishments.

Couple of shots from Joshua Tree National park which we visited the following day (definitely recommend checking out if you can!)

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What are you running this weekend?

Anyone run a downhill race? What are your thoughts?

Where did you PR? 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! xo Jane

 

Real Talk on Running Goals

Goals: the destination of a journey. They should be measurable, observable, the desired result. I always have work goals and several personal and fitness-related goals in my mind at a given time. But these days, following Boston and my first trail ultra, I am feeling a bit unsettled in my fitness plans.  Adding to the lack of running ambitions and motivation has been the post-marriage mentality of ambition fatigue. Mark and I have really enjoyed the last couple of months (and hopefully many more years of happiness to come), but I think that it’s time for some goal setting.

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Wineglass Marathon Recap

Two weekends ago, I ran Wineglass marathon held in beautiful Corning, New York. It was my 18th marathon in my 11th state. I didn’t run my fastest time (3:54), but it was a beautiful race and a fun weekend with friends. My friend Molly also ran the marathon, and had a great race- having her there capped off the experience!

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England Adventure- Part 2

Hope you’re having a great week! I can’t believe that we are almost through September. After starting a new job last week, I haven’t had much down time to blog or even run much!

My last post described part of Mark and my trip to England, so here’s part 2! Stay tuned for some running updates — RRCA coaching and Boston Marathon entry — soon.

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As far as England, one of our days was spent exploring the Cotswolds, a picturesque section of western England full of “chocolate-box” villages, thatched roof cottages and historical British homes.

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Coaching and Celebrations

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week (a busy month really!) and I finally had some time to sit down and write a post. Last night a group of us celebrated my friend’s birthday and we started talking about how excited we were for a big blizzard to hit Boston…in retrospect, I wouldn’t go that far, but I think we are all ready for a change of seasons to the beautiful fall!

Here are some updates on my life over the past couple of weeks:

-Most excitingly and relevant to running: last weekend I took the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) coaching certification course. The two 8-hour day course was held outside of Minneapolis, MN (the New England courses for the year were filled within minutes!), and was worth every penny. Even if I never coach, I learned a great deal to inform my own training. Official coaching certification happens after I pass a 100 question exam and become CPR and First Aid certified, so hopefully I can call myself “Coach Jane” soon!

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I was very impressed with the scientifically-based running agenda and loved our instructor, Cari Setzler. Cari is a competitive runner herself, an RRCA certified coach, a writer for Women’s Running Magazine, and on top of that- a Veterinarian. She kept the class entertained with her funny and engaging style. Fellow classmates had a variety of running interests- some were specializing in 5k distances and enjoyed working with young runners while others were passionate about the ultra-distance and wanted to increase their knowledge of the sport. It was so interesting hearing their stories, and we all enjoyed talking about running non-stop. I hope to keep in touch with some of these fellow runners! Stay tuned for another post with more details on my experience and the course itself.  For now, I have to get back to working on the exam!

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How to Make Running a Habit

Note: this post was originally written by me for Run Farther and Faster blog.

Some weeks can be particularly chaotic, consistent with the regular ups and downs of life. Needless to say, the moments of stress do not inspire me to lace up my running shoes and head out for a run. However, there have been workouts where I set out feeling down, but returned home afterward flowing with energy, with a clear mindset and perspective, and a more positive attitude. During these runs, I could feel my outlook change as my Garmin beeped at each mile marker. I was so thankful that I had chosen to run, mostly because it has become a habit of mine.

There are many ways to manage the rollercoasters of life- whether it be sitting back, breathing through your frustrations and letting the anger or sadness pass via meditation, or more proactively working against the angst through active pursuits such as running or another favorite form of exercise. Everyone can benefit from habitually getting outside and being active in some way on both emotionally down days as well as those feel-good days. You won’t ever regret regularly spending some of your valuable time participating in a mind-clearing activity such as running- you will only regret not doing it.

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