I have never been much of a water drinker. My husband is constantly nagging because he doesn’t think I drink enough water. He is probably right. In the winter, it seems to be a non-issue; I can run for miles and miles and not have to worry about getting thirsty or light-headed. But in the summer, especially when the temperature is over 30C and the sun is high, I can struggle; over the years, there have been a few times when I have been seriously dehydrated with shakes, dizziness and diarrhea. I’m not sure whether it is my age, experience or having two kids that is causing me to be more careful now but, in the past few years, I have become much better at beating dehydration.
One thing that I have learned to do is drink ahead of time. If my long run is on Sunday, I’ll make sure that I am getting more fluids into me on Thursday and Friday. This lets me get rid of the excess on Saturday so that my bladder feels more comfortable on Sunday when I run. Maybe it’s a female thing (after all, I have delivered two children) but this system works for me.
This summer, temperatures have been extremely high so I have had to tell myself to drink more regularly and make sure that my electrolytes are in check. Being the math geek that I am, I have come up with a mathematical relationship that considers temperature and distance run. On days when it is over 25C and I run 8 miles or more, whether over one or two runs, I drink a bottle of Gatorade, either during the day, after I run, or both; it really doesn’t matter how I drink it as long as I drink it. If I run 15 miles or more on a long run day, I drink two bottles – one immediately after I run and one during the rest of the day. After working with this temperature/distance/Gatorade relationship for the past few weeks, I find that I now automatically reach for a bottle when the math tells me to. This has the extra advantage of putting more calories into my body, something which I am finding I need more and more of as my mileage and intensity continue to increase.
Lastly, when I am drinking water, I try to make sure that I am using a bottle or container that I really like. After all, drinking games should be fun, right? A few weeks ago, my oldest was buying a bag of Kernels popcorn and wanted to get a bottle of water too. “No, you can wait,” I told him, but then I saw the Mood Water. These bottles are so much fun it is almost impossible to not want one. Both of us noticed that the water had a bit of a flatter taste to it, possibly due to a higher alkaline level. (But what do I really know? I’m a math geek, not a chemist.) Regardless, the bottles were emptied – down to the last drop.
Most people plan their meals – what groceries they are going to buy, how they are going to cook them and when they will eat them. But our bodies are sixty percent water so we really do need to take care that we are staying hydrated and replenishing our fluids, whether it is because we ran, gardened, walked, or even sat outside under the hot summer sun. I have made a conscientious effort to watch my fluid intake this year and I really believe that it has made a difference in my overall health. So, while a bit unorthodox, the number and drinking games that I play are working for me. What do you do to make sure that you are getting enough water?