Something I think is super important for everyone, not just athletes, is taking care of yourself. One of the best ways that’s most often overlooked is your daily hydration. Since some part of the country are easing out of winter and towards the warmer temps of spring, I figure it’s a good time to bring this up.
Now I emphasize this one a lot mostly because I spent nearly all of my years of running in Florida. While we got the occasional cool spell, generally speaking it’s a very warm state. Due to this daily hydration was super important. If I took a 30 minute nap, I usually woke up with the beginnings of dehydration—or at least at the point of dehydration that I was feeling the effects.
The reason I bring this up now is I ran a 10 miler a couple weeks ago. Because the weather had been cooler, I opted not to take a bottle of water with me. Normally this isn’t a problem for me, but that day ended up being significantly warmer than the days before. Added to that, I hadn’t been drinking even regular amounts of water (due to lower temps – I tend to go for hot chocolate). As such, I really struggled the last couple miles of the run to the point of considering just calling a friend for a ride back.
This can happen regardless if the conditions are working against you. However, properly hydrating yourself on a regular basis can reduce the effects or in some cases help you make it through those tougher runs.
If you searched the internet about proper hydration, you’ll get a mix of information depending on whether it’s exercise related, who is writing it, and what their sources are. But something I’ve learned as a long distance runner is that maintaining my daily hydration does the best to keep me moving along in optimum condition.
I’m not a doctor and I’m not saying you should guzzle water continuously. What I tend to do is just keep bottles of water within arms reach. If I’m thirsty, it’s right there. Even if I’m not thirsty, I tend to take a drink from it every few minutes just because it’s there. I’m probably averaging 4-6 20 oz. bottles of water a day. However, that’s spread across a full day and includes the water I’m drinking after workouts under 6 miles (or basically, anything under an hour).
I’ve known individuals who carry around a gallon of water that they refill 4-5 times a day. While I find this a little extreme, I also accept that the majority were guys who are known to generally sweat more than the ladies.
If you’re someone who is more comfortable with exact numbers to help you out, look into figuring out your sweat rate. This will help determine your water intake in relation to your exercise related water consumption. I’m not sure if you can work the numbers out to your required daily intake. But I trust you all to know when too much is too much.
So included below are a few links if you want some extra reading. I wouldn’t take any one as the absolute true, but they might just give you a little more information to run with.
National Athletic Trainers Fluid Replacement (a very scientific sort of piece)
NBA Hydration Sheet (some easy to read information broken down into 2 pages)