C2U: Week Seven (water, water, everywhere)
Great job so far. This week, go for 15 miles total, with a 7-mile long run on hilly terrain.
How much water are you drinking when you run? Do you bring a water bottle out with you, or do you drink just before and after?
From what I understand, the body can absorb about 28 ounces of water per hour, tops. That doesn't mean you should drink that much, but I certainly interpret that to mean I should drink any more than that! If I do, it ends up sloshing around in my stomach and making me sick. I've found that 21 oz per hour is just about perfect for me (unless I'm really dehydrated). That's the equivalent of one hand-held water bottle per hour.
In the past, the advice was to drink, drink, drink until your pee is clear. WRONG!!! Doing so may cause hyponitremia, which is when you dilute your bloodstream and have too little electrolytes in your system. This can have severe consequences (Brian Morrison's 2006 Western States as an example).
You want your urine to be pale yellow. That's your goal. Everyone is different - you'll need to experiment to find out how much water your body needs per hour to maintain that clear yellow.
You can't really talk about water intake without also talking about electrolytes. "Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat, and these must be replenished by drinking lots of fluids." (Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia)
Various ways to replenish your electrolytes are through sports drinks, certain gels and a fanTAStic product called nuun. A word on sports drinks: not all are created equal. Gatorade? Maybe it's good for football players, but for long-distance runners, the amount of electrolytes are virtually nil. Many energy bar companies make much better versions of sports drink with more elctrolytes (PowerBar, I think Hammer may make one?, Heed, Succeed, etc.). I personally love nuun. It's a calorie-free way of getting what I need - just drop a tablet in my water and I've got refreshing fizzy water for my run. I often run with one water bottle and one nuun bottle.
What works for you? All you experienced runners out there - what's your favorite way to stay hydrated? Let's discuss!