I guess I am stuck in a "Top-Ten" rut...Letterman would be proud.
Getting fluids in you during your long runs is key for optimal training. But how much, when and why? Here are 10 tips to making sense of it all...
10] Have fluids on you rather than depending on water fountains. You can hydrate at a specific rate (time) and better control the amount of fluids you are consuming.
9] Take the thinking out of it and set the timer on your watch to 15-20 minute intervals. Every time it goes off, hydrate.
8] Like an eyeglass prescription, everyone's fluid needs are different. Some may need more fluids as their sweat rate is much greater. There is no one specific amount of fluids that will work for everyone. Calculate your "Sweat Rate" by weighing yourself before a 60 minute run. Mark down your weight in your log. Go for your run. Weigh yourself again and mark down the temperature, speed you ran and how much weight you lost. For every pound lost = 16 ounces. So, if you lost 2 pounds (32 ounces) on that run, you would aim to hydrate IN THOSE CONDITIONS, about 6 ounces every 15-20 minutes.
7] Your goal should be to offset hydration, not replace all the fluids lost. We are not capable of 'replacing' all fluids lost in sweat when we run. Especially when it is very hot and humid. That is because the body can only absorb so much fluid per hour (about 1 liter or less).
6] Train with the sports drink that is served on the racecourse. Consume sports drink 'most' of the time on the run. It will offset electrolytes lost in sweat and also provide quick fuel to the muscles.
5] Mix it up and put water in one Fuel Belt\ bottle and sports drink in the other three. It's fueling on demand and a great way to have a variety of options on the long run.
4] Walk to get the fluids in. Unless you've mastered drinking on the run, it is better to get the fluids in you rather than on you. You will more than make up the lost time walking over the duration of the run.
3] For those with a sensitive system, consider drinking fluids more frequently, but in smaller quantities. Perhaps 2- ounce sips every 10 minutes.
2] Watch the color of your urine when you go to the bathroom. If it is "clear" that means you are drinking TOO much. If it is dark, you need to drink more. If it is light yellow like lemonade, your hydration is just right.
1] Clean your Fuel Belt and hydration system right after your run with soapy water. It is easier to clean and avoids mold from growing (yuck).