I know a lot of you are right smack in the middle of your fall marathon training, which means, to most, you just have to follow that training schedule to a “T”. I know! I did it a few years back for the Chicago Marathon. Yeah, that ONE! The one where they ran out of water and shut it down with the majority left with at least 10 miles to run! Needless to say, I learned a few things training that year, AND I especially learned some things that glorious Sunday! I figured the hottest week of the year would be a perfect time to share.
Everybody has heard time and time again, you have to stay hydrated, but what does that mean? It is recommended by most docs to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. You have to ask yourself though, who are the docs recommending that amount to? Well, I’ll tell you who it ain’t! It ain’t the runner/walker hitting the streets every morning, much less the marathon trainer in Alabama in August! So, I’ll say for you pavement pounders, 64 ounces is the bare minimum!
Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky! You can drink too much water!! If you continue to drink water after filling full, you basically are flushing your system of essential electrolytes, that not only help you retain water, but also aid in muscle and organ function. What I tell most of our customers is to mix your favorite electrolyte drink in with your daily water intake. So, try to make about 20 to 30 percent of your daily fluid intake blue Powerade, my favorite! I learned this valuable lesson on the aforementioned “glorious Sunday”!! I’ve known FOREVER not to “over hydrate”. I don’t know if it was the constant heat advisories at the marathon expo or the adrenaline that clouded my judgment, but either way, drinking probably 2 gallons of water and maybe half a Powerade the day before was a bad idea. As a result of flushing my system, I had a cramp (I describe it as one cramp because in the moment it just felt like one big, bad one) that started in both feet and went all the way through my legs into my lower back! I couldn’t move! I just stood at mile 16 wondering how I was going to get back to the hotel!
I pretty much drink three things, coffee, water and beer. I mention this because two of those drinks pretty much negate the other one. Coffee and beer contain the diuretics caffeine and alcohol. They tell your brain to get rid of water, which means if you consume those beverages, you have to take that in to account when deciding how much to hydrate. Don’t get all snippy!! I’m not telling you to lay off the tap at The Trak Shak on Wednesday night! Just drink more water!