Friday, January 27, 2012

I love you, Gu Brew...

Because today is a rest day, and i have been up since 5:30 anyway, I thought i would talk about hydration, because it is something i totally fail at, over and over again.  I'm not sure if some people are more prone to dehydration, but if that is possible, i am one of those people.  I first realized that i was failing at hydration when i got sick at the lakefront last summer.  I felt that i was drinking a perfectly fine amount.  It was very warm and sunny, but not heat advisory warm.  To this day i blame Matt, because i had intended to be running by 7, and because of him i didn't start until 9, so it was  hotter than anticipated.  By the time i got home, i weighed myself, and i had lost 4.5 lbs on the run.  All of which was water.  which i desperately needed to live.  That means my hydration needs were miscalculated by about 70 oz.  My math really sucks.

Here are a few symptoms i have experienced as i start to get dehydrated:

1.  What little running form i have completely deteriorates.  It's really hard to tell when you're weaving, but by the time you are weaving enough that you become aware of it, you're about to go down.  If you are having trouble keeping a consistent stride, you could be dehydrated.  (there could also be a rock in your shoe, but drinking some more water is still not a bad idea.)

2.  Your mouth feels sticky, like when you wake up.  When you are dehydrated, your mouth can feel dry and parched, but it can also feel sticky, like your saliva has become very thick.  If you try to spit, it will end up all over your face and that is not cool.  drink some water.

3.  First you sweat, which is gross, but all that sweat is cooling you off.  If you stop sweating, thats when you should be concerned.  I find that i get a nice think layer of salt all over my face and arms.  God i am sexy.  
your face should NOT look like this.
4.  The swish.  When you are dehydrated, your electrolytes become imbalanced.  You can keep drinking water, but your body stops processing it.  That results in a horrible sloshing feeling while you're running.

5.  The best indicator for me is if i finish a long run, and go home and immediately fall asleep.  Its normal to be tired, especially if it is a new distance for you, but if you are unable to even feed yourself and shower, you are probably dehydrated.

That said, the best way to stay hydrated on a run is to either carry water with you, or make frequent stops.  (I carry a water bottle on runs longer than 10 miles, or if its really hot, or i know there is no water anywhere.  I like to take frequent little sips as i'm running, rather than stop for larger amounts.) Another thing i found is the Gu Brew!  Its basically a flavored electrolyte tab.  There are a lot of different companies making similar products, but the gu brew is my favorite.  They don't sponsor me, this is just my tastebuds talking.  I am sure they all work effectively, but i really like the flavor of the gu brew.  Its like gatorade, only lighter, and a little fizzy.  It's my new favorite post run drink!  I have yet to take it out with me on the run, seeing as how i have been doing low mileage all month, and it's so cold i  haven't been sweating much, but i am kind of excited for a rematch with summer distance running!  IT'S ON!

When it comes to hydration, only you know what you need, just make sure you always have access to what you need.  Or at the very least, if you collapse, don't let it affect your time....

Do YOU have any great ways to beat dehydration?  Have you even been affected by it on a run??


  1. Informative and sexy post! gr8 job!

    I'm terrible at drinking while running, I hate when it just sits in my stomach. I just started though to get used to it and I too try to take small sips a lot instead of stopping for one long drink.

    1. Its better to start in the winter probably when you don't need quite as much. Summer is crazy, you will drink 3 bottles of water and not even pee. scary.

  2. What a great post!! I think that hydration is something that people forget about in the winter.

    I had a lot of problems with this over the summer. I dealt with at least one if not more of these symptoms over the summer during my long runs in the hot July and August months. The best things for me was to consume more salt the week before. Snack on pretzels (a lot), eat some frozen stuff with high sodium, soup, all that jazz. Salt helps your body retain moisture better. In fact, I took a salt packet half way through my marathon (and 20 miler) and it helped almost immediately with the sloshing (the most frequent hydration problem for me).

    On the day of the Chicago Marathon last year, I actually ended up throwing up on the course from heat exhaustion and had to go to the medical tent. I was severely dehydrated and was told I couldn't return to the course. (I was sad but ended up finishing a marathon in Grand Rapids the following weekend.) When running longer distances, hydration is so important DAYS before your run as your body is pushed to its limits!

  3. Lucky for me, i tend to be a salt junky anyways! :) and how awful about the Chicago Marathon!! I would probably be ready to fight people to try and finish, regardless of what state i'm in....

    1. Haha, I tried but with an IV in my arm, my punches were pretty weak. That's okay, now I"m just one of those crazy people that wants to run more than one marathon! Wah wahhhhh...

      What marathon are you running this year? Is it the Illinois Marathon? I know you said it was in the spring but I wasn't sure if you said what it was?

    2. I am training for the Rockford Marathon right now which is in May. Its super cheap, and only an hour away. Plus my mom lives on the course, so VIP bathroom. I am signing up for the Chicago Marathon and the Dublin Marathon which are both in October. Obviously, i have severe mental problems (The dublin marathon has an 8 hour time limit and is walker friendly though, so i figure i would stop in a pub after a while and have a mid-race guiness.

  4. Great post!! I will have to check those tabs out, I have never heard of them. Considering my first runs that are actually long will be during this summer, I'm glad to hear about them now. PS - that 'pause my Garmin' has me cracking up.

    1. Yeah, i am digging them hard, especially the orange. I drink gatorade too, but it is so sweet that too much of it makes my stomach upset. (especially when you are also having gels and stuff!)