You can lead a horse to water . . .
. . . but more than likely the water has been siphoned off by dehydration fearful runners.
As more people have become health conscious, so have sales of bottled water risen. Sports bottle dispensers, water with a lime twist, water from volcanoes, water from the Peckham spring . . . oh hang on a minute .
LGN's Ben Noad raced the 2018 Marathon des Sable and had to nail his hydration
While LGN Run Club trainers would agree that being hydrated while exercising is a very good idea, from our experience of the advertising world, we can safely say that bottled water companies, their PR agencies and ad agencies will have spun as many column inches as possible discussing the dangers of not drinking enough water.
In fact, the water bottle attached to a gym rucksack or clenched firmly in-hand is now seen as a must for any form of exercise, but how essential is it?
Of course, in extreme sporting or weather environments, being attentive to your hydration is vital, but in London, going for a 30-min run during a crisp autumnal October evening, it goes without saying that the need is reduced. While research is constantly evolving regarding hydration and dehydration in extreme situations, for everyday use there are some simple facts and pointers.
LGN's Top 10 Hydration tips:
1. Dehydration is inevitable – as you exercise or even walk down the road you will sweat and this will lead to fluid loss; mild dehydration is not a problem.
2. Thirst is not the best advance warning system – it’s a slightly delayed response mechanism, that generally only tells us to drink when we are already dehydrated.
3. You have a limited ability to use water – research indicates the maximum amount of liquid that can be absorbed into the body is about 1 litre per hour, more than this and you will just overload your kidneys and keep visiting the loo.
4. Complete hydration takes time - to reach your vital organs on a cellular level can take days, you can’t just drink a pint of water on marathon day and say job done!
5. In terms of simple running hydration recommendations, here is the LGN 5-point plan.
6. Try to drink little and often throughout the day to pre-empt relying on your thirst mechanism.
7. UK tap water is fine to drink and equal in ‘blind’ taste tests to bottled water. (In 2007 a certain international drinks brand admitted its water was in fact just tap water..)
8. Try not to run with a bottle of water in your hand; this will adversely affect your running action and is not required if you have been drinking little and often (If you do need water while running we recommend a bottle belt)
9. If running longer events, remember that the key is to start the event fully hydrated and the latest recommendations are for 0.4 – 0.8 litres per hour
10. If competing in a low-intensity endurance type event (backpacking etc) – try not to drink vast quantities of water at each opportunity, as there is a small risk of diluting blood sodium levels. Just keep it little and often.
Happy hydrated running one and all!
The LGN team