“Hydrate or die” is the tagline for camelback, the company that makes water systems that get carried on your back. I bought my first Camelback in 1996. It was beige, I guess to look like a camel 😉 and was a curious thing to see at the time, but it meant the world to me. Drinking water while mountain biking is a tricky thing- reaching for a water bottle is tough when you’re watching which line to take. Having a hose right at your disposal makes drinking EASY!
Going back in time a little, to 5 years previous, while participating in the Kananaskis 100 Relay, on a hot July day, caught up in the excitement of the event, I failed to drink much water that day. Wanting NOT to disappoint my fellow teammates, I ran my 8 km leg on the blacktop (ie no shade) in the middle of the day with EVERYTHING I had! Not long after my leg was over, one of my teammates, a nurse noticed I was doing so well. I felt like to was going to puke. I was shaky and hadn’t peed in hours! Heat exhaustion was the diagnosis. I missed out on the after-race party, feeling too crappy (and crampy) to participate, and lay in the back of a mini-van feeling like I’d been beaten up!
I can now say, I enjoy my water and feel slightly panicked if I am without. It took a long time to recover after that episode. Exercising felt almost impossible because I had depleted my body so much. Being well hydrated does the following:
- it regulates body temperature
- moves nutrients, fuel and waste products to and from cells
- it lubricates our joints
So, when should you begin hydrating and how much?
I believe hydration starts the day BEFORE you intend to push your body. A general rule is that you should find yourself peeing fairly often and your urine is pale-coloured, similar to dilute lemonade. If it’s strong smelling and DARK, start drinking more water.
When you are NOT active, sip 1/2 to 1 cup per waking hour of the day.
Two hours before running, bump up your hydration to 2 cups to make sure you start out “topped up”
During your run (or exercise), consume 2/3 to 1+1/3 cups every 20 minutes of exercise.
Ever come home from a longer run feeling “lighter”, pants fit a little looser that day? Do NOT RELISH is this…you may have just depleted your body’s water supply! Weighing yourself before and after a run allows you to see how much water loss you’ve had. Sweating during exercise can be around 2 cups per hour!!! If you weight 1 lb less after your run, you’ve lost 2 cups of water (NOT BODY FAT) and you should start drinking NOW!
Hope this helps all my fellow runners and active folks out there. When it cool out, as we move into the winter, hydration becomes even more challenging because we don’t see the sweat and we don’t necessarily feel “over-heated”. Consider drinking water as a routine, you just do it, don’t wait til you are actually thirsty!