For those of you have been following for a while, we’ve committed to bringing you a monthly challenge!! For the month of May we are stepping away a from a physical challenge and bringing you a nutrition challenge! For week one, we are focusing on hydration. Hydration is an integral part of any fitness or running regime and is key for performance and recovery. Your challenge is to be aware of your hydration while you’re training and on a daily bases… Have a read! Thanks to ambassador Rosie for creating this challenge!!
Week 1: Hydration
In the summer of 2015 I committed to running my first trail ultramarathons on the beautiful trails of British Columbia. The second of these incredible races was the Squamish 50km in Squamish, B.C. Being my second ultra of the month, I thought I had a few things sorted out and could push myself beyond what I found to be my limits in the previous race. The first half of the race felt amazing – cruising along, legs fresh, happy mind, hardly even had to eat or drink… wait…. Hardly had to eat or drink… The funny thing is even if I had wanted to drink (which I, at times, really really did) the hose in my fuel pack wasn’t working and so for the first 25km I had only had about 250mL of orange juice in me. But for some reason I didn’t seem to feel it! Sweet! So I continued bustling along and passed the half way mark in a competitive place. To put a long (somewhat painful) story short – I bonked big time shortly after that. I think I knew in the back of my head that that lack of hydration would get to me and sure enough, it did. This was totally fine by me, I enjoyed feeling how exhausted my body got and still finished the race with stoke and managed to pull of a much faster time than the previous one. But I did learn this – even if you feel good, and even if your mind tells you you’re fine… you should probably just take a sip of your water.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind as we aim to provide our body with adequate hydration:
– If you’ve ever experienced one of these, dehydration was likely a major role player: gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, fatigue, confusion, shock or inability to find your normal running groove. So it’s obvious hydration plays a big role in the maintenance of your running mojo! Good news is – it’s not too hard to maintain your hydration.
– Fluid and electrolyte replacement needs to be considered just as much, if not more, than calorie replenishment (as I experienced in the story above – even though I had enough food in me, my performance was hindered by dehydration).
– Okay. I’m definitely not the only one who gets sweaty running and I’m likely not the only one who notices the salty result. When you sweat, sodium and chloride loss are your big concerns. Sodium is of particular concern (that’s the salt!). This is where it becomes important to not only think about hydration, but also to think about how we hydrate and with what (the old “what, where, when, how really applies here!). If we only drink water, we will dilute that sodium concentration in our blood, causing more problems like fatigue, confusion and headaches. Turns out, keeping track of sodium intake also helps all the people who, like me, struggle with the need to pee during races. If you’re finding you are taking in a lot of water but noticing symptoms of dehydration, it is likely due to not getting enough sodium as you hydrate.
How much water do you need?
In addition to the fuel we burn, most of the weight we lose when you run is due to loss of water weight. Try weighing yourself before and after your exercise – this will help tell you how well you are hydrating and how much fluid you need to be taking in per hour of exercise. My mum, a triathlete competing on a worlds level, uses the following example as a guideline:
“If you find you’re losing about .75kg during a one hour run, you would need to drink 750ml per hour to compensate under those conditions.”
Here are some conversions that might help you in your water weight measurements:
1lb water = 15.4oz of water
1kg water = 1L of water
A common problem with all people pushing their bodies physically is a sensitive stomach when it comes to putting calories in. A good way I have found to do this is to drink my calories, so that when I have no appetite for the bacon and cookies and I packed along, I can both hydrate and replenish calories at the same time. The guys at Skratch labs give the following recommendations for drinking your calories:
– In cooler weather, you could help yourself by consuming 200-280 calories per liter of water (that’s 5-7% carbohydrate concentration)
– In hot weather, decrease this by consuming about 140-180 calories per liter (that’s 3.5 – 4.5% carbohydrate concentration).
There are MANY good products out there that help you get calories in through fluids – make sure when you’re picking them that you look at the total calories per serving, the total amount of water per serving listed (higher water content = lower amount calories), and the total number of ingredients.
A few products that I really like are:
– Nuun tablets (they come in many different flavors – some even with caffeine!)
– Carbopro (this is a flavorless powder drink)
So, here’s the challenge for the first week of May – let’s aim to be mindful of our hydration habits and work towards ensuring that you don’t bonk as hard as I did. Whether this means getting in your prescribed eight 8oz glasses, finishing the water bladder you brought with on the run, or slamming that glass of water before you hop in the shower…. Hydration is KEY to your body’s ability to run as much as your heart and mind want to.
Let us know how it is going. Run like the wind!