The familiar taste trickles down your rough, cracked lips in small beads of sweat from your upper lip. With each new strike of the foot, small dust clouds rise up from the dry dirt. Your muscles feel weak, your body tired, and the pounding of your head seems to pulse in sync with the rhythm of your stride. Through squinting, heavy eyes, you can see the sun high in the sky, unremitting and fiercely beating down. It's high time to hydrate.
Dehydration is a major concern for runners and athletes. Dehydration occurs in athletes or those participating physical activity because the body is losing fluid at a much higher rate - mostly due to sweating and high temperatures - without replacing it. So for all of you Grand Teton Relay'ers (and marathoners, triathletes, hikers, cyclists, and other endurance enthusiasts) listen up and learn how to hydrate!
Hydrating How To's
- Pre-run hydration- The week leading up to the race, you must make an effort to keep your body well-hydrated. Even if you consume ample water during and after the event, you didn't go into the relay in the best condition. This can negatively affect performance, not to mention cause you to develop a heat-related illness. If you neglect hydration in the days before the event, you and your body will pay for it later, whether it's in the form of sore muscles or cramps, headache, heatstroke, or something more serious.
- On-the-run hydration- This can be a bit trickier. This is often a process of trial and error and getting to know your body - many experts recommend drinking to thirst to prevent underhydrating and overhydrating. How fast and how long you run can help determine how much water to drink while running. In one of our previous posts, we discussed how much to drink while running. It goes a little something like this: For every 20 minutes that you run, try to drink between 5 and 12 ounces of fluid. Consider a sports drink to replace salt and electrolytes, and know that there will be water stops along the course at the first aid stations.
- Post-run hydration- Consuming fluid in between legs of the race and after the event is equally as important. A good rule of thumb is to drink until your urine is a light yellow color. If your urine is still dark yellow after you run, keep hydrating.
By knowing the signs of dehydration and dispelling some of the myths, you can keep on keeping on! For more fitness tips to help you get ready for the big day, call The Wellness Center at EIRMC to speak with an exercise physiologist today!