Saturday, May 14, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #19 Hydration

If you have ever been dehydrated in the middle of a race you know how horrible it can be.  One minute you are moving effortlessly toward your goal.  The next, all your energy, mentally and physically have suddenly vanished like a fart in the wind.  In an instant it feels as if you are slogging through a mud bog, relentlessly reminded of your mistakes with each step.

I feel I have learned much this past year as each of the 4 hundred milers I ran brought different results and new lessons.  We can train for months, and be ready to set world and personal records come race day.  All that effort can be for naught if you do not stay properly hydrated.  This was never more evident for me this year than at Javelina (my slowest, toughest hundred, and my most memorable).  I went in prepared to set the land speed record for a human on foot only to be out paced by anything with a heart beat as I lay in self pity for hours.  I took this hard fought lesson with me to Bartram 7 weeks later and despite some rough moments highlighted by awful weather I set a PR.  During this race I focused on fluid (about 30 ounces per hour) and salt (1 s cap every 2 to 2.5 hours).  I still felt my rough patch may have been related to hydration.  Approaching my 2nd Umstead this past April I committed to myself that I would focus on fluids and salt.  I came through, keeping to a steady consumption of approximately 40 ounces and 1 s-cap per hour.  I also kept my nutrition at 300 to 350 calories per hour and nearly all in liquid form (more on this in a nutrition post).  Like any hundred I had to fight and battle through pain, exhaustion and self doubt but my focus on hydration helped me to PR by 3 hours (20:18).

On a side note I have also come to learn that my most reliable clue to being hydrated is (hope you are ready for a visual, think big) urinating at least once every 2 hours.  Once I get beyond 2 hours I know trouble is beginning and I make a serious effort to drink more and if it continues for longer I will increase salt too.

So the tip is focus on hydration, and learn from past races in that regard.  Practice your routine in training and learn what works for you.  I am now a firm believer that hydration, along with preparation is the most important aspect of running long distances.  I still have much to learn in this area especially in the heat and look forward to planning and trying my new found formula during my two summer events where the temperatures are sure to be in the 80s and 90s.  I will be sure to keep you posted on how this goes.


1 comment:

  1. one salt tab per hour is my routine. depending on the how hot it is 40 oz an hour is a good goal. sounds like you didn't get enough of both when you hit the wall at javelina?


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