Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calculating my Free Water Defecit

Alright, so it's a nerdy title... but I'm a nerd. What do you want from me?

So I haven't geeked out so much that I've actually calculated my free water defecit, but as the days have gotten warmer I've certianly been thinking a lot about hydration. Running an hour or more a day 4 days a week gives you a lot of time to yourself to do some quality thinking. It's also helping me maintain a nice tan :)

I've never been a huge hydrater - not as I run, not at the gym, not while I play sports. I always drink enough to keep me going, but I know that I've never been great at staying really on top of repleting my losses. I think that after a long day in the sun or playing sports, I often spend the following hours catching up on my volume status. This isn't an outstanding habbit, but I seem to walk the line where I hydrate just enough, and it's never caused me any trouble before.

Well I'm training to complete what will be my largest physical challenge in my life to date, and I'm quite positive that this flimsy hydration plan is not going to cut it. Of course, it's not just as simple as drinking a boatload of water, either. You can just ask any runner who's ever been brought to an ED confused or seizing because their sodium is too low from taking in excess free water. So much to consider!

My "weekday short runs" are now usually 4-5 miles each, and in cool weather I could easily run that without ever taking a sip of water from a fountain I pass, let alone carry a water bottle. But as the weather has heated up and I've hit some sort of weight threshold where I sweat like mad when I exercise, I find myself getting behind FAST. I can be two miles in and my mouth is dry and I'm thirsty. Well... that just won't do.

As I approach the big day, I'm working to develop a solid hydration plan, and I intent on "practicing" it on my weekend long runs. I want it to be second nature when the time comes. It's important to drink some sort of electrolyte replacement in adition to plenty of water, and I need to figure out where a good balance is for me. In addition, I need to think about starting to fiddle around with "Gu" or some other energy/caloric supplement for race day, now that my mileage is getting up into the double digits.

So I've hit a whole new level of "runner." First and foremost, I can't believe the money I've been willing to put into my new hobby. Sizable for sure. So my newest investment is for a running water bottle belt. I always laughed at people who were wearing these on the trail, but I get it now. The one I chose only has 2 10oz bottles - I'm wondering if I should have gotten the 4 bottle, but we'll see how it goes. The belt, of course, has a nerdy, handy-dandy fanny pack to stick my Gu and my keys in. Now I'm getting serious.

I'm gonna work on this whole hydration thing... I'll keep you posted on how it goes. (Posted, get it? Blog post? No? Fiiiiiiiine.)

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