The Hydration Thing

With only three weeks to go until my next 10K race, I figured it was time I started thinking more seriously about the whole hydration thing.

Having only ever run 10K during the winter months, this hasn’t really been much of an issue for me so far. I completed my first 10K race on a cool, windy February morning and skipped the water station without causing myself any problems.

But now that Spring is in the air, and the temperature is warm enough to run in single layers, I know that I’m going to have to start taking in a bit of fluid during my longer runs if I don’t want to collapse in a heap at the finish line.

So, this morning, for the first time ever, I took a drink out with me for my 10K run. I didn’t have any sports drinks and, since the shops weren’t open at 7:00 am, I decided to fill a bottle with water and a tiny bit of fruit squash to make it taste nice.

When I headed to the seafront, the sun was bright and it was already quite warm outside, so I decided that I would take a sip of my drink every kilometre to keep myself hydrated.

I didn’t really like carrying the bottle as it made me feel a little off balance, and drinking while running wasn’t easy. However, after the first couple of kilometres I soon got used to it and found that, as long as I was running at a steady pace, I could manage to take a sip without slowing down too much, spilling my drink or choking myself in the process.

It’s hard to say how much of a difference it made, but on the whole I did feel that I had a bit more energy than usual when I finished and I even managed to get a new 10K PB.

The only downside was that my stomach started cramping a little bit on the walk home, although I’m not sure if that was due to the drink or not. I’ve still got another two long runs to do before race day, so I’ll probably try water without the squash next time, just to see if it makes a difference.

All in all though, I’m pretty pleased with today’s run and, while I still wouldn’t bother taking a drink with me on a 5K run, I can see that it’s going to have it’s advantages for the longer runs, especially as the temperature starts to pick up.

Do you take a drink with you on your runs? What do you think of sports drinks? Are they worth the money or is water just as good? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


25 thoughts on “The Hydration Thing”

  1. There is a spring in Herkimer (where I live), so I run by that, stop and take a drink. I’m still on short runs right now (20-30 min), though, so it’s not an issue (also, the temperatures around here are still in the 20s for the most part). In the army, my marathon running friends (as well as the ones that went to the sand box) got themselves camel-backs. That would be a non-lopsided way to carry hydration.

  2. I take a drink with me on my runs as my mouth tends to feel dry so I like to be able to take a few sips. I’d say water is fine for a 10k, but once you’re running further/longer, you need to replace the electrolytes/salts you lose in sweat so a sports drink is good then. My suggestion is to try a few sports drinks and see what works best for you.

    1. Thanks. That’s good advice! I’m hoping to do a half-marathon once I get a few 10Ks under my belt, so now is probably a good time to start looking into sports drinks. 🙂

  3. I take water with me on every run so I’m used to carrying it (I have a fanny pack that I’ve used since I started running and I even use it during races). I like to have water with me ‘just in case’ I need it. I take a drink about 1/2 way through a 5K distance but I find I drink more frequently now that my runs are longer.

    1. It’s definitely a good idea. I’ll have to try out some different ways of carrying it, but the fanny pack (that’s the same as a bum bag, right?) sounds good as I guess you can keep keys and things in there too. Thanks Sharon. 🙂

  4. In my experience I would take water only on 5k,10k. On a half marathon I would start hydrating a few days before events. sports drinks are good but not always needed they give you extra sugar, carbs , salts similar to gels they are designed to help restore but most people have at least 2hrs of reserve so it is only the extra sugar your getting and doesn’t really make a difference on the shorter/medium runs if you have already had a decent breakfast porridge, etc. saying all this it is worth experimenting thou as everyone is slightly different for example on a 10k unless really hot I would only drink before and after. I actual find a few sweets like fruit pastilles or Haribo are a good sugar boost on the short runs.

    1. I hadn’t thought of hydration that far before the event, but it makes sense. I drink far too much coffee so replacing some of that with water is probably a good idea. I’m going to try that this week and see if it helps. Thanks you! 🙂

  5. My runs are usually shorter distances, and all under 1 hr. I usually grab a cold cup of water when I get home but don’t carry anything with me- I don’t really like sports drinks, water just tastes more refreshing!

  6. This is such an important topic! Personally, I don’t take drinks with me unless I run for longer than 90 minutes (or 60 minutes on a really hot day). I only ever take water with me, as I don’t like the taste of the sports drinks and find that I don’t drink enough when I take them. On runs longer than 20km, I bring nutrition with me as well (which is yet another topic, but I basically stick with real food as much as I can, especially for long trail runs. I will, however, use gels for fast road runs and marathons). Finally, I think you have raised an important topic about how to carry the water, as it’s important that you are comfortable with it. Personally, I don’t like hand-held systems either, especially not on long runs. Like you, they unbalance me slightly and I’m sure that over time, that has an impact and could even lead to injuries. I have a small hip pack with four small bottles all the way around, which works well for “shorter” long runs – up to three hours or so. For longer runs, I carry a hydration backpack, which has plenty of space for all the other things I need to take on longer trail runs.

    1. I like the idea of the backpack for longer runs, although I’d feel a bit silly taking one on a 10K! The hip pack sounds like a good idea though. Injury is a big concern for me as an inexperienced (and older!) runner, so I’m wary of anything that might affect my balance etc. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  7. I always try and take water. If I don’t I seem to get a really dry throat and I hate it lots! Carrying it can be a pain but I guess i’m used to it!

      1. I was thinking about getting one of them ones that’s kind of thin, looks easier to hold – I know that sounds silly, just seems simpler to run with!

  8. I carry water with me for anything over 5 miles, unless it’s very hot. Then I bring some just in case. I stick with water only unless I’m racing something longer than an 8k. I’ll usually take a Gatorade and water at every other stop, and usually grab water every time.

    1. Hi Lauren. I thought about using the water stop on my first 10K, but didn’t like the idea of stopping so decided against it. I haven’t tried Gatorade yet but have heard good things about it so it’s definitely on the list of things to try. Thanks. 🙂

  9. I carry a Nathan water bottle – it’s designed so you can tuck your fingers inside the material around the bottle so you’re not having to actually hold the bottle. It’s quite comfortable. I normally take just water, but for longer runs I’ll carry some Nuun tablets that you can drop into your water – they add electrolites without al lthe sugar that comes with Gatorade.

  10. As soon as I’m getting up to an hour I take water or buy a drink en route. I usually use water unless it’s a hot day or a run of 16km or more, then it’s sports drink for electrolytes and energy.

    1. My 10K is still over an hour so I definitely feel that I need something. I’ll probably stick to water for now, or at least until I get up to longer distances. Thanks! 🙂

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