Micah and I are running our first half-marathon in a couple of weeks. In the middle of July. In hot, humid Ohio. It’s going to be awesome. As long as we don’t dehydrate ourselves, that is. This has become much more of a concern to me since last month when one of our teammates had to drop out of the Ragnar Relay because of extreme dehydration. It didn’t look like any fun at all, if you ask me. So I’ve been doing some looking into some hydration techniques for those hot summer runs. After coming home the past few days with my shirt soaked and sweat dripping off my face, I thought it might be a good idea to know if I was doing things right or if I was on my way to a bad race.
This is what I came up with: The most straightforward thing to do is to drink water. Obviously. At least a cup beforehand and then periodically throughout your run. Even a swallow will do you good if you don’t think you can stomach any more than that. Or if you can’t swig any more than that as you fly by the aid station at top speed.
Slightly more complicated is to drink cold water. This is harder because you have to plan ahead. You have to make sure the ice cube trays are filled, or you’ve frozen your water bottle, or you’ve stuck it in the fridge. You can’t just think, as you are rushing out the door, “Oh. It’s hot out. I should take some water,” and fill up your bottle at the tap. It’ll help, yes, but colder is better. It keeps your body temperature down and is more refreshing.
And then if you are all sorts of on top of things, and also running a race (or on some other important run — it may not be worth it for your run-of-the-mill easy workout), you can treat yourself to a pre-run slushie. Which will likely remind you of your high school glory days, when you and your 8 best friends would shove yourselves into somebody’s 5-passenger beater and drive to the nearest 7-11 for a slushie after the Friday night dance. You’ll think your 18 again and invincible. The lack of common sense will probably help you PR. Well, no, probably not, but it will give you a boost for the first 50 minutes of your run. At least that is what the experts say. The iciness keeps your core body temperature down for almost an hour so that you can put in some good solid miles before the heat catches up.
Usually I would save my cold tasty goodness for an after-run reward, but in the name of good hydration, I’d go for a slushie-run, any day of the week. I mean, go for a slushie, and then a run. And maybe only one day a week It’d get kind of expensive if I did it too often.