Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Hydration!

Hey guys! Happy May!

If you haven't picked up on it yet, my typical intro (if you will) to my daily sporadic blog posts is usually about how terribly sorry I am for being MIA on the routine posting. And that would obviously be my intro today, however, my friend yelled politely informed me that I'm falling into the "blogging trap" by starting each post with "sorry it's been so long." So in lieu of that information, I'm going to skip the apology and jump right into things. (just know that deep in my heart, I am truly, very, very sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused due to lack of blogging.)

It seems like the latest craze these days, besides Pinterest and Twitter is running. I know of several people who are participating in the Cap City Half Marathon this weekend here in Columbus and a handful of others who are running various spring marathons around the region.

So when it comes to actual race day, there seems to be a million things on the pre-race checklist that need to be addressed:

  • Did I go to the bathroom?
  • Did I eat enough for breakfast?
  • Did I eat too much for breakfast?
  • Did I train enough?
  • Is my iPod charged?
  • Is my time chip secured correctly?
  • How am I getting to the race?
  • Are my chaffing areas protected? (come on, we all know this is addressed)
While all these things are important, there is one very important question that is often overlooked and even forgotten about - especially for beginners.... 
  • Am I properly hydrated?

Good question. A lot of people have no clue as to how much water they should drink during the day, before exercise, during exercise or after exercise. Also, a lot of people don't realize that hydration can ultimately be the deciding factor between finishing a race or not finishing a race or even beating a PR. During a race, runners reduce their pace by 2% for each percentage of body weight lost by dehydration. So, for practical application,  let's say you're from Kenya and run a 10K in 35 minutes under normal hydration. Run that same race 4% dehydrated and you could tack on an additional 3 minutes to your time. See? Believe what they say folks... hydration is tres important!
 So this week when you're devising the ultimate playlist for your weekend race, be sure to download some Eminem, and more importantly, follow these tips for staying hydrated for your race:

  • Everyday Situations:
    • Drink water throughout the day (1/2 oz per pound of body weight)
    • Drink smaller amounts every couple hours (drinking your daily amount of water all at once will do nothing good for you, in fact, it may even throw off your body's response to it's thirst mechanism and make you lose even more water - stick to 16oz at a time)
    • Have water available at all times
    • Avoid carbonated water
    • Learn to drink water without swallowing too much air (may cause intestinal gas which is NOT ideal come race day)
    • Remember things like coffee, pop and alcohol act as a diuretic, which means they will increase your need for water 
  • Race Day
    • 3 hours before your race, drink at least 16 oz of water
    • 15 minute before your race, drink about 8 oz of water
    • If you plan on running for more than an hour (which is likely to happen unless you were mentioned in the practical application above) drink about 10 oz of water every 20 minutes
Keep in mind that just because you finished that race and are wrapped in foil with a heavy medal hanging from your neck, doesn't mean your hydration duties are over. The body takes anywhere from 24-48 hours to properly rehydrate. Don't start the Cinco de Mayo celebrations before drinking lots of water throughout the day... and no, the ice in your margaritas do not count. 

I hope everyone's doubts and questions about water are answered. If not, ask! 

I wish everyone who is racing this spring good luck, and most importantly - have fun!

Stay Healthy and Hydrated,

Anyone running a race this weekend?!

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