Running Hydration


One of the things I continue to struggle with is hydration on my long runs. Currently I run with a SIGG hydration running waistpack with a 20oz Nike Sports Bottle stuffed in it. It works great for runs under 10 miles; when I run more I find myself rationing my water and always running out prior to complementing my run. The last run I carried a 16oz water bottle in my hand to supplement my water stores which was a royal pain in the butt.

To add to the problem eating GELs on my long runs really cuts into my water rations. I’m considering looking for or making myself a waistpack that can carry two 20oz bottles; or perhaps a hydration backpack. I have a Camelback for Hunting and hiking but there is no way i’m strapping that monster on my back while running. I don’t wish to relive my military rucks.

I think the lack of water resources may be the reason that I tend to get a headache after some of my long runs; a friend suggested that it might be the need for salt and said I should try taking a salt tab 10 miles in.  I’ve never heard about running using salt except on Ultras and WOW have you seen the prices for those salt tabs LOL really! its SALT, I pass mountains of it on my runs:100_0106Okay, okay, I know they have more then salt in them; but still.

I’m not sure if water is going to be a problem when I run the Marathon at Disney World next year or not, they have not released any route map showing if there are water (and bathroom) stations along the route and if so how far in between. Even if there are water stations I’ll still need at least a small water bottle to keep my throat from getting dry which is normally about a sip of water every 1.5 miles.

Hydration seems to be one of the least discussed subject in the running blogger community and it would be interesting and helpful to find out what your thoughts on hydration while running are. We’ve touched on it here and there in some of my prior post but never really discussed it.

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14 Responses to Running Hydration

  1. Jane Likes to Run says:

    I carry the dreaded camelback when ultra running. it’s a smaller one and holds about 70 ounces. it’s been a lifesaver. I also get pretty irritated if I’m thirsty when running. My experience with marathons is that they usually have water stations at least every 2 miles. I’m sure Disney is no different. But I’ve seen lots of people carry their own liquids during marathons, whether in waist belts or hand held bottles. Then when you run out, you only need to stop hopefully once during the race to fill up! I think I use about a 20oz hand held bottle for marathon training. That usually only lasts me for 15 to 18 miles, depending on the temperature. I usually plan on swinging past my house at that point to refill. Hope this was helpful. Good luck on your adventure!

    • usabaker says:

      My camel back is the military style 3L and would be no fun to run in even empty. I was thinking just what you wrote to carry my own bottle on the runs so I would only need to stop once or twice. I really hate stopping, it too hard to start-up again and take my muscles and joints about 100 yards to start work correctly again lol. As always you have great advice and insight.

  2. Anything under 2 hours I drink a single 20 oz bottle. It is hot and humid I will have a second bottle in the truck to slam down when I finish the run. On a hot run I will use a Nuun electrolyte tablet (zero calories, light flavor.)

    Over two hours I use an Ultimate Direction Jurek vest. I use it both trail running and during road marathons. It is pricey but it is practically bulletproof. And shows zero signs of wear so far. I use Tailwind nutrition. A bit pricey but it has both all the electrolytes you need and calories. During cooler weather I mix 200 calories per 20 oz bottle and drink one bottle per hour. During hot weather I either mix only 100 calories per bottle and drink 2 bottles per hour or I mix one bottle at 200 calories and hour plus drink one bottle of straight water. I have found that on really long runs (over 4-5 hrs) it is nice to have the variety of straight water and tailwind.

    Tailwind is pretty amazing stuff. I have a friend that can’t seem to use anything except it without having stomach problems. It is often the only calories I use during a run – no gels, no food.

  3. I haven’t ever carried my own hydration on road events. I’m usually happy drinking a paper cupful every 5km or so – that seems to be the spacing of the drink stations for marathons here down under. It’s a good opportunity for a short 20 second walk break too, since I can’t really run and drink from a cup at the same time. I try to take a sip of the isotonic drinks over water if they have any, or if not, I will bring along a salt tablet particularly if the weather is hot.
    There was one race where I neglected to bring the salt. The weather was humid, and I lost a fair bit of salt through sweat – clearly evident by the heavy traces of salt left on my arms and t-shirt. The last three stations ran out of electrolyte drinks, and as a result, I struggled through the last 2km, and my calves seized up in the last 500m of a 45km run. I also had a nasty headache from mild hyponatremia, which only went away, and even then, gradually, after I had a banana and downed a cup of water with half a teaspoon of salt in it.

    • usabaker says:

      ACK! I just looked up Hyponatremia didn’t know anything about this until you wrote it. Thinking about it when I have allot of salt on my skin my head will hurt at the end of my run. I thought it was just because I was running in hot, humid, or blazing sun. Now I wonder if it was Hyponatremia. Hmmm maybe not though because on say 15 miles I’m only downing (most of the time) 20oz or 26oz at the most, which I don’t think is that much water. But I guess one never knows. I’m not so keen on Gatorade and the like; my body and high fructose or even white sugars have arguments. I have to use sport drinks without high processed sugar content or naturals like coconut water. Thanks for teaching me something new! ‘Hyponatremia’ wow what we runner put ourselfs though huh?

      • It’s interesting, during the safety brief for TNF100 this year, the race director actually encouraged us to err on the side of dehydration as opposed to drinking too much plain water.

        Apparently in the history of the race all the severe cases of hydration related dropouts have been to do with hyponatremia rather than dehydration. Also, the latter is far easier to treat than a bad case of the former.

        Definitely go for the less sugary options if that works for you. Its the electrolytes you want, not the calories. I used to use Nuun tablets too, but have since switched to salt caps as I find it easier to manage with my intakes of fluids, calories and salts separated. Its possible to go overboard with the electrolytes too, and if it’s mixed in with your only water source in the middle of nowhere that could mess up a race just as easily!

      • usabaker says:

        Thank for all the information!

      • Another thing, not sure if it’s universal but I’ve found I can tell that I have mild hyponatremia, when I have a headache and the thought of drinking more water makes me feel ill. Also, I’ll crave salty and sour flavours.

        Be careful though, a bad case of hyponatremia needs to be treated very carefully. Best to call in a medic if it’s severe.

  4. Brittany says:

    Unless it’s hot and humid, I’m good for about an hour of running without hydration so long as I’m well hydrated before my run. In my winter half marathon (I’m a glutton for snowy, icy punishment), I’ll take water at just two stops throughout the race. This summer in training for my first marathon, I carried a 16 oz Nathan handheld on runs that didn’t have a water fountain I could loop by because I needed to take water every .75 miles or so unless I wanted to feel like I was overheating. Maybe it was mental, maybe not, but I couldn’t run without it. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s better than carrying something on my back or hips, in my opinion. I’ve used the Nathan waistband thing and it was awful. It slipped, the water sloshing drove me nuts, and it was a lot of excess “stuff” to have on me.

    I have salt tabs, but I have never noticed a difference when I use them versus when I don’t. I’m definitely a salty sweater because I can feel it post-run on my face regardless of the temperature, but I still don’t feel like the salt does much for me. Who knows? I prefer to use Nuun with my daily water intake and during my training runs where I’ll need water. I like to think that helps me not need salt tabs.

    • usabaker says:

      I’m a salty runner too; I have streaks of salt running down my neck and my arms and legs feel sandy when I’ve cooled down. I think the SIGG waist pack is the same thing as the Nathan you used, it gets annoying when when it slides around but I jut deal withit, sometimes move it to the back. I need allot of water for some reason maybe because It warm here; I notice I don’t use as much when I run at night. Still haven’t tied the salt tabs but you are the 5th person whos mentioned Nuun so I’ll give that a shot. Thanks for all the input!!!

  5. Miss Dinie says:

    Lucozade Sport or Smart Water has electrolytes in them.. Try those!

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