Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hydration - don't leave home without it

Yesterday was Day 1 of my marathon training for the Detroit Marathon in October! Unfortunately, the heat index yesterday in Chicago was a comfortable 101 degrees. Because I was going out for a 6 mile run, I knew that hydration was going to be important for me to have a successful run. Although I had hydrated well during the day, I know that it easy to lose 2% of my body weight during even a short run. Any weight loss above 2% drastically affects performance due to increases in heart rate and core temperature. If you're exercising in a gym or on a court, keeping hydration close by is fairly easy. However, for endurance athletes - particularly runners - this can tricky. It is from these athletes that I typically hear, "Well, I would have drunk water during my run but there wasn't any along my route." So sad, but this is no longer a valid excuse. Endurance runners now have many options when it comes to staying hydrated...

What type of hydration apparatus or fuel belt you use is dependent on the length of your workout. If you are doing a run longer than 50-60min, you might opt for a fuel belt. The fuel belt brand offers belts that have anywhere from one to eight bottles. Bottle size varies but can be as high as 22oz. per bottle. Of course the larger the bottle, the fewer bottles you will need to carry. However, I would caution you to be sure to train with the belt before using it in a race, as the belts can be HEAVY and also somewhat awkward, so do take some getting used to. The nice thing about these is that most also have a zipped storage area for holding keys, an ID, or energy gels/chews.

Even if not running for a full hour, some runners don't like holding even one water bottle. Therefore, using a fuel belt that holds only one bottle is a great option. Here is one specifically advertised for trail running; the water bottle side typically is worn in the back. Personally, I just love the camo:

Another option if you only need one bottle is a palm holder (assuming you don't mind holding the water bottle). There are also many varieties and sizes of these, but here is one designed for a relatively longer run (because the bottle is 22oz). It has a convenient strap that wraps around your hand, which surprisingly makes it leaps and bounds easier than just carrying a water bottle alone. Plus the strap typically has a storage area for keys, an ID, or perhaps some type of energy gels or chews.

Although these are all great options, my personal favorite is the Vapor bottle. I love it because my small, feminine hands often hurt after using a palm holder for too long. Plus as the bottle becomes less full, it can actually be folded in half, which is doubly convenient when running.
Although these come in a variety of sizes, they don't hold a huge amount of water, so wouldn't be good for a long run. However, if I'm running less than 50 minutes, this is my go-to hydration partner.

Any fuel belt or water holder is only as effective as it is used. So find one that you like and that you will actually drink from. Remember you should be drinking 8-12 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. Add in sports drink if your workout will be longer than an hour or if you are doing an interval workout. The more you sweat, the more fluid and electrolytes you need. Happy drinking!

No comments:

Post a Comment