Half Marathon running tips – Part 1: Hydration

Some of the team at Le Physique are tackling the challenge of a half marathon this spring ~ BMO, Scotiabank…just two of the more popular ones that the fanatics speak of.  Denise has been trying to politely get me to sign up for one of these and I gotta tell you, it feels pretty daunting!  And Jeff, one of the morning trainers is probably going to do the FULL marathon.  Finally young Nic has been training hard and running at a very quick pace.  I’m considering it…really I am.

If you’re a first timer, up for the challenge, here are our running tips, in a weekly series, to keep you on track for your half or full marathon.

Running Tip 1: Hydration

Staying hydrated is very important when doing any kind of activity. Fuel sources for our bodies, along with how much, before, during and after activity can affect our performance.  Dehydration can also lead to many problems ranging from minor complications like headaches and muscle cramping, to major malfunctions like heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Wonderful water!

* During your training period, hydrating well is important; especially on the days you run the longer routes. Ensure that your hydration program starts several days prior to a long run, not just the day before.  Urine color is a great way to determine whether you are hydrated or not: the lighter the colour, the more hydrated you are. Conversely, avoid drinks that can dehydrate you, such as alcohol.

* During your run, if you’re thirsty, have a swig. If your workout or run has exceeded 60 minutes, drinks that include electrolytes are advised as well to replenish the salts and other minerals lost in your body during the workout.

* After your run, it is important to re-hydrate with water and for an added boost, electrolyte and mineral-based drinks can help to restore all that was lost during your run. Gatorade is a good choice, though I’d recommend watering it down to lower the sugar concentration.  You can lose about 20-24oz of water per pound after your run.  Simple way to determine this? Step on the scale before your run and then again after.  For every pound differential, drink 2 – 3 cups of water.

To recap:

(a)   Hydrate before your workout, not just the day of or day before.  In fact, start now!
(b)   Avoid drinks that will dehydrate you, like alcohol.
(c)   Hydrate during your workout.  Use electrolyte based drinks for runs longer than 60 minutes.
(d)   Hydrate after you workout.  Drink 2 – 3 cups for every pound of weight lost during the workout.

Have a great run and stay tuned for more tips on helping you run better!

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