Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do Not Stay Thirsty, My Friends

Holy heatwave, Batperson! Northeast Ohio is suddenly embroiled in the steamy temperatures more commonly found in August, with highs the 70s and 80s and humidity in the "oh Godzilla, I feel awful" range. That means it's time to make sure you take in your fluids.

I know, such a hassle. Isn't it enough that we have to watch out for terrorists blowing up bridges across our favorite running areas? Well, you don't want to end up parched like I was during last Sunday's equestrian long run. While the Most Interesting Man in the World advocates that you "stay thirsty, my friends," being thirsty out in the middle of nowhere without any water could spell disaster.

On certain days, it's not enough to drink your required eight cups of water before heading out for a run. You need to hydrate before, during and after your activities.

At work, I keep a 32-ounce bottle of water at my desk and strive to drink two full containers throughout the day, whether I'm running or not. I'm terrible at hydrating at home, unless there's beer in the fridge.

There are some who say beer isn't good for hydration, but I still hold true what Jim Fixx said about beer and running. He said beer helps prevent kidney stones because "it goes more directly to the kidneys." However, I think beer works best as a post-run beverage than as a primer.

While pre-run hydration is important, it's during a run that I believe is a key factor in staying quenched. Some people find success by planning their routes around the availability of water fountains, but this approach neglects the possibility of needing a swig of water before you run across the next facility. And frankly, it takes too much thinking. Just carry water with you.

There are many options to turn yourself into a mobile fluid station, but my preference is the handheld water bottle. You also have the waterfilled backpack and the hydration belts and other such items, but I find them too cumbersome. Your preference may vary.

[Drunkard's note: Damn it, I just realized I forgot my handheld at home when I packed my post-work running gearbag.]

An ancillary benefit of the handheld bottle is that it gives your arms a bit of a workout while you're on the run. Regardless of your chosen methodology, carrying your own water leaves nothing to chance. It's the ol' "better safe than sorry" adage.

Whether you're going short or long, having water available on these hot days will keep you running strong and safe. And when you get home, that cold beer will taste so good.

Lately, I've been enjoying some "black IPA," in the form of Heavy Seas Black Cannon, which tastes like a hoppy porter, with a less bitter aftertaste than traditional IPAs. Sadly, I finished the sixpack last night. Cheers!


Nitmos said...

I'm a route pre-planner so I almost never carry water. However, out of town once and on an unknown trail, I decided to carry some red Gatorade in a hand held bottle. The bottle had a slow leak. By the end, other runners were looking at me and my red soaked hand as if (a) I might have terribly cut my hand or (b) I just brutally murdered someone OJ style. Beware. Your hydration may lead to police questioning.

misszippy said...

I kind of like humidity, but living in Baltimore, you kind of have to. Anyhow--for me I can pretty much do any run under 90 minutes w/o water, regardless of temp. Once past that though, and I use water and electrolyte replacement if it's really hot. I am also quite spoiled--our running club puts water out at 3 stops every Saturday, so none of us has to carry any on long runs. I love this!

Please clear the area of all bridge bombers before I come into town for the Cleveland 1/2!

Spike said...

I usually drop water on the route, but I'm about to begin some more trail running so I'll be using the 'carry your water' method.

Carolina John said...

Run well and drink well this weekend. I'm not going to feel pity for you with temps in the 70's and 80's. oh poor viper. We've been sitting on 93* highs for a few days now. which is still considered to be a mild summer temp in NC. this sucks.

BrianFlash said...

There's nothing sad about finishing a six pack. The beer fulfilled it's destiny!