Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reaching all Runners, Lesson 1: Hydration

Hi guys, hope you are enjoying your Sunday!  I sure am, this is the first Sunday of the summer that I haven't studied or done something for that RD exam! Ah, feels good :)

I have had a lot of requests lately on nutrition for running, particularly while training for races (5K, 10K, half- or full-marathons, etc)....so today I am going to be reaching all runners.

Recently, I have been coaching a couple of runners on nutrition while training for their half-and full-marathons. Some people may not realize it, but nutrition is a large part of the equation when it comes to performance, especially in run races. I have been able to work with these runners and some of them have already experienced a vast improvement in race times; this is most likely due to their training, what they eat to fuel themselves and of course, hydration (hence, Lesson 1: Hydration)! 


I always stress hydration before, during and after workouts. A lot of runners and exercise fanatics forget about hydrating and don't realize it can have a significant effect on your run. Often times, water is just not enough...carohydrates and sodium (electrolytes) are needed as well. When you are training for months carbohydrates are important to maintain high levels of muscle glycogen (energy). Adequate hydration and sodium will also help you to avoid muscle cramping!

Here are some tips on great water and carbohydrate combos to rehydrate with
(these are comparable to your sport drinks like gatorade):

  • 1 pct of GU plus 8 oz water: providing 8 oz water 100 kcal, 25 gm carb, 40 mg sodium, 35 mg potassium
  • 1 large orange: providing 5 oz water, 86 kcal, 22 gm carb, 0 mg sodium, 333 mg potassium
  • 7- to 8-in banana plus 8 oz of water: providing 8 oz water, 105 kcal, 27 gm carb, 5 mg sodium, 422 mg potassium
  • Sports drinks are a good choice too if you'd rather have that, look for one with 6% carbohydrates on the label
*More than two hours of continuous exercise typically marks the transition when the use of fluids that contain sodium and carbohydrate (G2) becomes appropriate (start to experiment during training to see what works best for you)
So, how much water is enough? the daily recommendation for fluids is 8-8 ounce glasses of caffiene free liquids, this would of course, increase if your are exercising frequently
General rule of thumb: for every pound [of sweat] lost during your workouts you must have an additional 2 cups of water. Factors that may increase your fluid intake: hot climate, humidity or altitude this may need adjustments.


Other hydration thoughts:
  • Each morning, athletes should evaluate 3 signs of inadequate hydration: 1. are you thirsty? 2. is your urine a dark yellow? And 3. Is your body weight noticeably lower than the previous morning - if you experience one of these you know you did not hydrate adequately post-workout
  • Pre-exercise fluid consumption should begin at least 4 hours prior to training or performance
  • This will take a lot of experimenting, so don't stress about following the numbers exactly...everyone is different, that's the beauty of nutrition and our bodies :)

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