You may not know it, but your ability to run a great marathon time depends on how well hydrated you are.
No matter how well you train ahead of the marathon, you're not going to be able to put in your best performance on the day, if you don't know how to keep yourself hydrated.
If you'd like some help solving the problem of marathon hydration... keep reading.
In this post, you'll learn how you can to stay properly hydrated when running a marathon. You'll learn the various hydration strategies you can put into action, as well as how you can avoid the common mistakes marathon runners make when it comes to marathon hydration.
When you've made it to the end of this post, you'll know how to run a marathon, without it being ruined by dehydration.
Remember That Marathon Hydration Isn't Just About Drinking Water
One of the common misconceptions that people have about marathon hydration, is that you only need to focus on drinking water. This kind of thinking can be dangerous, as a lot of the time, just drinking plain water can produce more problems than solutions.
Proper marathon hydration is also dependant on you maintaining the right electrolyte balance in your body. Examples of electrolytes include salt and potassium. If you want to stay properly hydrated, you need to make sure you are consuming fluids that contain electrolytes.
Luckily, this is not too hard to do. You can buy 'electrolyte mixes' from a local superstore or pharmacy. Thankfully, these electrolyte mixes tend to be relatively inexpensive.
This makes it easy for you to stock up on them, without having to spend a lot of money.
All you need to do with these electrolyte mixes is add them to water and then stir/shake the water a bit. In doing so, you'll have produced a concoction that is able to provide you with all of the electrolytes you need, so you can stay hydrated during your run.
Know What Dehydration Looks Like
Everyone has different needs in terms of marathon hydration. The differences in hydration requirements, mainly come down to weight and other metabolic factors.
Because of this, you should avoid adopting a 'one size fits all' approach to marathon hydration. If you know another runner who claims to have conquered marathon hydration, don't take their advice at face value.
Just because it works for them, doesn't mean that it will work for you.
We'll talk about this in more detail later, but the best way to learn your hydration needs is by understanding what dehydration looks like. You then assess your body based on that knowledge.
For most people, dehydration can present itself in the following ways -
- Extreme fatigue
- Having very dark urine
- Feelings of confusion or irritability
Keep in mind, that this list is not exhaustive.
If you want to get a sense of what marathon dehydration looks like for you specifically, you need to dial up/down your hydration efforts ahead of the marathon. You then need to observe how you feel as a result of these experiments.
In the next section, we're going to take a look at how you might put that kind of practice into action.
Pay Attention to Your Training Sessions
You don't want to learn about the marathon hydration needs of your body when you're actually running the marathon. Training sessions provide you with a great opportunity to learn how you should go about hydrating yourself, during a marathon.
If you can, buy yourself a water bottle that has a measurement level on the side. Fill up this bottle and then go through your training routine, consuming water from the bottle whenever you feel thirsty.
Once you've finished your training session, take a look at how much water you have consumed and how you feel once you're finished running.
Does your body exhibit signs of dehydration, in accordance to what we covered earlier? If so, it may be that you need to do a better job of hydrating yourself.
On the other hand, if you feel pretty good after finishing your run, it can be a sign that you've got a good grip on how to handle hydration during your run.
Learn to Recognize When Hydration Isn't the Problem
It may be the case that you find yourself feeling lousy during your training sessions or even the main event. This is despite the fact that you've taken all the proper steps to ensure adequate hydration.
When this happens, you need to consider that your lackluster feeling, might be down to causes outside of marathon hydration. For instance, it may just be the case that you are low on energy.
A lot of runners find that consuming sources of carbohydrate, such as glucose sachets, help them perk up during a run. Some runners even consume jelly babies to help get an added boost of energy during a run.
As mentioned, you need to experiment with all of this during your training sessions, to get the balance right. You also need to be positive that you've taken all the necessary steps during training, to ensure that hydration actually isn't the problem.
Running a marathon is hard. However, the task can be made even harder if you don't know how to keep yourself hydrated, during the run.
In this post, we've taken a look at the steps you can take to ensure you remain hydrated during your marathon. If you want to get the best results, you need to make sure you practice maintaining hydration, during your training sessions.
If you can do that - the odds of dehydration ruining your marathon on the day of the event, reduce a great deal.
Best of luck!
Want to learn more about the kinds of beverages that can help keep you hydrated? Check out our blog to get the inside scoop!