Someone on Instagram asked me to post about the importance of hydration and some tips for hydrating, especially in the summer.
Mile 13 of the St. Jude Marathon. Hydrating like crazy.
Day to Day
A good analogy (I stole this from the owner of the running store I work for) is to think of it like watering a plant. If you don't water a plant, it gets droopy or in some cases, it dies. If you pour a ton of water over a plant at one time, it literally runs through the plant and doesn't do a lot of good. But if you water a plant some each day, it will retain the water and be healthy. That's much like how your body works. You want to hydrate and drink plenty of water every day in order to keep your body hydrated and healthy.
The best rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. So, for instance, if you weight 120 pounds, you should be drinking 60 ounces of water each and every day. I have a reusable water bottle that's about 24 ounces, and I just keep filling it with water every day until I drink enough. I don't let myself have a Diet Coke or wine or anything else to drink until I finish my water bottles for the day. It seems to work for me.
I'm going to be honest, I hate water. I don't like the taste (or non-taste). I typically put 1 Nuun tab in my water bottle to add some flavor. Nuun is like Gatorade, in that is has all your vital electrolytes, but it doesn't have any sugar or calories. Win win, right? I know there are other companies that make similar products, but Nuun just happens to be my favorite.
I typically don't drink water pre-exercise. If I run in the mornings, I have a cup of coffee about 30 minutes before I run (I realize this doesn't work for everyone). If you want to drink some water before a run or race, have about 6-8 ounces of water about an hour before you run/race so you have time to rid your body of excess liquids. Then, about 15 minutes before, you can drink about 4 ounces to top off your liquids.
During Your Run/Exercise
When running, you should be drinking about 6-8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes. If you wait until you're thirsty, your body is already becoming dehydrated. It's important to train your body to drink on a schedule rather than when you're thirsty. I take a handheld water bottle and some Nuun tabs with me on every run longer than about 5 miles, and I fill up my water bottle at water fountains about every hour or so. I sweat A LOT, so it's really important for me to stay hydrated and keep adding Nuun electrolyte tabs to my water to keep everything in balance.
Any other hydration tips or questions? Let me know!