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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!


Honestly? I do whatever's the cheapest - that means powdered Gatorade and whatever sports gel I can buy on sale. Recently I got a big stash of Sport Beans, and those have been awesome. During races I drink whatever's on the course and try not to worry about it.

During long tris or ultras (anything >5 hrs) I'll also take Succeed caps if they're available, and Coke in the last half of the race. I don't drink plain water unless it's in combination with some electrolyte stuff, because of the hyponatremia issue you mentioned.

There - that should be enough to get the discussion started.

Under 2 hr run - water. Over - like Donald, but no gatorade, its Heed or Carbopro for me. Used to be Perpetium, but now my stomach disagrees.

I use water and nuun now. :>) I sip water according to thirst along the run and then use one nuun at about the half way point.

Isn't Gatorade supposed to be scientifically the exact right amount of electrolytes that can be maximally absorbed? More and your body can't absorb them any way? I thought that was the point of Gatorade was the percentage was the most optimal for absorption. I could be wrong, though. (always leave yourself an out, right?) :D

angie, be careful... NUUN has no chloride in it. and you need that component for digestion. you loose chloride through sweat. i'm going by what karl king produced and researched on the listserv a while back.

anyway, his detailed article is very informative. written on May 30th, 2007. he pretty much covers everything.

i train with GU2o. but i'm not really choosy. afterall, i have to use whatever the race has anyway. the only thing i do is make sure i know what they are using so i can kinda sorta think about what i'm getting during the race.

good topic.

Well, I'm a little leery of using Karl King's stuff. I was quite put off when he spammed me when I first joined the ultra list, and I sorta have a moral thing against buying from him. I know! I should be supporting folks in the ultra community! But I don't like how he runs his business.

oh, i didn't know that.

but really you know what you are doing. you have completed some pretty tough races and if you didn't know how to take care of yourself you wouldn't be crossing the finish line.

happy running :-)

oh, happy thanksgiving too!

I've been experimenting with just plain water, even on long runs (with gels and electrolytes). It seems to be working better for my stomach. But my favorite sports drinks are HEED and the Succeed! drinks. I also like the Succeed caps the best. Karl King's email didn't really bother me, maybe because I had already purchased from him by the time I joined the list. Its a good product, imo.

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