Hydrate, Not too Late, or Seal Your Fate

First off, I'm happy to report that last week I logged 50 miles, with a long run of 11 miles on Wednesday. I had planned to make time for a 14 miler over the weekend but I stayed up too late and couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough for a long run. The past few days I've been really tired. But that's o.k, it was Independence Day weekend and I was having too much fun with the kids.

Yes, it is starting to heat up out there, so the question we face is, how much trade-off are we willing to make between sleep and running in the heat.

Now if you are focused and dedicated, you'll get to bed early, wake up really early and get your run in. But if you're like me and you have too many other things on your plate to get to bed early, you face the prospect of running in the heat.

I do not like running in temperatures over 70 to 75°F. I particularly don't like when it is hot AND humid. But, since I'm so obsessed with WRITING about running in the heat, I get to bed late, awaken late and have to run in the...heat!

When you run in the heat, you sweat more, and that detracts from your performance and slows you down. My breaking point is about 90 minutes...meaning I'll run up to 90 minute without a water bottle, but ONLY if I drink a LOT before I head out on my run.  But  I've also run holding a water bottle, wearing a water bottle on a waist belt, wearing a multi-bottle belt and donning a "Camelbak" contraption.  You're training for a marathon...BUY ONE or more of these because it just makes life easier to drink on the run.

My personal preference is the multi-bottle belt as it doesn't slosh around like the Camelbak (though the Camelbak carries more fluid) and I can carry multiple liquids...water bottle, Gatorade bottles, etc.

One of my best running friends and mentors is a firm believer in loading up on fluids BEFORE his long runs to minimize the need for carrying fluids, even on long runs. This is advice I take to heart.  DRINK UP EARLY and get used to the feeling of liquid sloshing around your belly at the beginning of your long runs.  It feels uncomfortable at first but you may find it an effective way to stay ahead of the hydration curve.

How much is enough? Everyone is different and I think you need to experiment.  When in doubt, DRINK. I was flipping through the Parade magazine insert in the Sunday paper the other week and came across an article on hydration that said to drink 7 to 10 oz of water for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. Do the math. If you drank, say 8 oz of water every 15 minutes, you're talking a QUART of liquid for an hour long run.  It sounds like torture but if you're sweating that much in the summer heat, your body needs it.

The article goes on to say that runs longer than an hour, consider drinking a fluid replacement drink.  I agree with this as the sugar in these drinks is a nice pick-me-up and the salt replaces what your body is losing.  Gatorade, Powerade, Cool Aid, "defizzed" Coke, fruit punch, whatever floats your boat usually works fine.

Water you waiting for? I hope I have in-fluid-enced you tonight.