Previous articles in this series –
What do I know about water? Well, I know we need to drink it or we die. I know that when I didn’t get enough on an 18 mile run, I overheated and nearly fainted.
Are all liquids the same? No! I’m not going to get into the science of how your body breaks down chemicals and processes them in the most efficient manner because I just don’t care. My goal right now is to run my first marathon, which happens to be in less than 4 months now!
For long runs in the heat (above 30 degrees), expect to drink A LOT! On days we ran in the mid 30s, I went through a 2 litre CamelBak, plus 1.5 litres of Gatorade, and I still pee’d dark yellow when I was all done.
The moral to my talking about my pee is that if you expect to run long distances, you need to be prepared to hydrate yourself constantly. That means taking a backpack or waist-pack full of water, and maybe even a few extra bottles if you have room.
If you don’t stay hydrated, you’ll be very prone to muscle cramps, including those painful side stitches, and none of us want those. They are debilitating and they sap your will to continue running.
A little bit about Water vs. Gatorade. Honestly, plain water is boring. However, I found that Gatorade just makes me more thirsty. In the middle is a simple ORS pack. Perhaps it’s less salty than Gatorade, but anyway it quenches my thirst more readily than Gatorade or water. However, I would never rely on just ORS on a run because I personally don’t think it’s very efficient at keeping my body hydrated. It’s more of a pick-me-up if anything.
There are also numerous powders available to mix with your water that supposedly provide the electrolytes and other nutrients, but I just haven’t tried them yet. Like I said, this is my first marathon and I just want to finish. And I will.