I’m a data junkie. I track every run on the Garmin website (my Garmin is one of my favorite earthly possessions) and log stats like distance, time, terrain, and how I felt on the run. I do this because after 2 years and 11 months of running, I STILL CAN’T FRICKING FIGURE OUT WHY some runs rock and some runs stink. For example, about a year ago I had tequila for dinner, barely slept and ate Advil for breakfast. Then I had an amazing run. Huh? Strange things like this pepper my logs…
Conversely, I can be well fueled, well rested, and still struggle to do 5 miles. And not have any idea why.
But I have narrowed it down, as close as I can figure, to water. When I drink enough water, I run better. When I’m even a little dehydrated, I suffer. According to Runners World, even 2% dehydration has a negative affect on your performance and recovery. Exercise physiologist and marathoner Larry Armstrong, Ph.D., induced dehydration equal to 2% of body weight in runners and observed a 6% decrease in speed over 5K or 10K. That’s a 3% decline in performance for each 1% decrease in bodyweight due to dehydration. That’s significant.
So how much do you need to drink and when? Those are the questions I need answers to. And there seems to be a lot of information out there but this one, from Runners World, makes the most sense to me. Benchmark how much weight you lose during a one hour run (weigh yourself naked before and after, subtract), divide that number (in ounces) by four and that’s what you need to drink every 15 minute on longer runs to keep from getting dehydrated.
And if you are already dehydrated, drinking before your runs – drinking consciously throughout the day – is also uber important. For me, one sign that I’m behind on hydration is that my lips get dry and cracked. If that happens, I know I need to drink more. Ideally though, I don’t want to get to that point.
So my theory on my tequila dinner is that before bed, and when I woke up, I drank bunches of water hoping to avoid a pounding headache the next day. Either that’s why I had such a great run, or tequila is jet fuel for runners. But I’m leaning toward the former…
Drink more water.