Happy Tuesday, friends.
It is steamy in NYC! I woke up at 5:30 a.m. this morning to 80 degrees and a gazillion percent humidity and knew a tempo run would not be the best idea, so I switched it with Thursday’s easy 7.25 miler. This will be the first tweak of many to this year’s plan!
But the important thing: week 1 of NYC Marathon training = done. Here’s how it went down.
- Monday: 50 minutes easy vinyasa yoga
- Tuesday: 8 miles easy with Megan
- Wednesday: 3×1 mile repeats, total 7.2 miles
- Thursday: 7.6 miles with Natalie; 50 minutes PM vinyasa class at my gym
- Friday: XT: 40 minutes spinning, 25 minutes elliptical, lifting & core work
- Saturday: 15.25 miles with Ali, Lindsay and Megan
- Sunday: 6 miles easy
Total: 44 miles
I’m feelin’ pretty good after this first week and looking forward to the next 16 🙂
A ton of people are gearing up for fall races right about now, and whether we’ve just starting our training plans (me!) or are already a few weeks into them, we’ll all be getting a lot of miles in during the warm summer months.
Which makes me want to get all preachy on hydration.
Hydration status can not only make or break a run, but can cause serious health problems if not taken, well, seriously.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends water losses due to sweating during exercise be replaced at a “rate close to or equal to the body’s sweating rate.” This is pretty individualized, and we can figure out our sweat rates by weighing ourselves before and after a run (a 60 minute run is standard). The difference between the two is our sweat rate.
The ACSM also recommends drinking fluids before, during and after running to help keep the body hydrated. I guess this seems like a no-brainer, huh?
Drink, and you will not get dehydrated. Duh. Here’s an article from Runner’s World that breaks down when to drink what, and how much.
But something I don’t think a lot of articles or information focuses on is overhydration, or drinking too much fluids. This can dilute the body’s sodium stores, which is extremely dangerous.
I know first-hand, because I experienced it during training for last year’s NYC Marathon.
(I ran and finished, so we all know this story ends well!)
I set out for a 16 miler on a hot, humid morning and drank very diluted Gatorade during the run. I also had some, ahem, extreme stomach issues, and that coupled with a high sweat rate caused my body to lose a ton of electrolytes. Drinking just water to rehydrate didn’t cut it – I needed to replace the electrolytes I lost!
Even with my nutrition background, this didn’t register in my head because I was so worried about preventing dehydration. I wasn’t listening to my body, and I kept drinking water when I got home because I thought I was dehydrated.
I started getting dizzy, had a terrible headache and felt disoriented. Long story short and a trip to the ER later, I learned I was actually suffering from hyponatremia and my body’s sodium levels were dangerously low.
So, how can you prevent this?
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If your stomach feels full or you can feel water sloshing around in it, don’t force yourself to drink. The body does a great job regulating it’s fluid balance – we just need to listen to it. Keep hydration top of mind before, during and after your runs, but be smart about how you’re feeling too.
SIP. Sipping fluids throughout your run is recommended over gulping larger amounts in a short time period – your body can use it more efficiently this way.
SPORTS DRINKS like Gatorade contain electrolytes that help you rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes, especially after a sweaty long run.
SALT. Salt is also something I make sure to get enough of. The ACSM says athletes performing prolonged exercise should ingest snacks or fluids containing sodium to help offset the loss of salt in sweat, in an effort to prevent hyponatremia.
I find having half a salt packet before and half after my long runs helps. I also like to eat more pretzels and have saltier snacks when in heavy training.
The lesson for marathoners: salt is our friend!
For me, my hydration plan depends on the kind of run I’m planning. For most runs less than 10 miles, I’ll have a cup of water before my run and maybe take a few sips from the water fountains in Central Park if I need to during the run.
Afterwards, I’ll rehydrate with more water and a few sips of Gatorade.
For long runs, my plan is a bit different. I have a few sips of Gatorade and some water before the run, along with a little bit of salt with my pre-run snack – banana and peanut butter.
I take a bottle of 1/2 water, 1/2 Gatorade with me and sip it slowly throughout the run (and grab a few sips from the fountains too, if I need them!). I also take a gel for extra electrolytes and carbs for runs longer than 18 miles or so.
Then I rehydrate with a little more Gatorade, water and coconut water when I get home and throughout the day.
Coconut water is great for rehydrating because it has tons of electrolytes (especially potassium!), which we need to replace after super sweaty runs.
I can’t emphasize enough that this plan works for me. Hydration is so individualized – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. The key is experimenting (safely) and figuring out what works for you.
I just wanted to share my not-so-great experience in hopes that it will help ya’ll hydrate safely this summer.
Question: How do you hydrate? Do you have a specific plan? Please share your thoughts!