Hydration is an extremely important factor when doing endurance sports of any type. If your workout is over 20-30 minutes, you should strongly consider taking some water with you. By staying hydrated, your body will be able to more efficiently perform the task at hand. Water is needed for cooling, waste processing and joint lubrication and can give you a mental pick-up when you take a sip of fresh, cool water during your workout.
It’s estimated that 2/3 of our body weight is water. Water plays a major role in numerous body functions and performance factors. Benefits of proper hydration include increased flexibility, muscle strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. When we become dehydrated, we can experience headaches, muscle fatigue, and soreness. And aside from its performance benefits, water keeps our skin from drying out which can make us look older than we’d like ;-). There have also been psychological correlations drawn between hydration levels and self-esteem and confidence increases. Needless to say, the benefits of staying hydrated are well worth the forethought and effort as you plan your workouts, races, and daily routine.
For workouts under an hour, I’ve found that a simple 20 oz water bottle can suffice for proper hydration. Some of the water bottles in the store even come with a squirt-top lid and can be re-filled. Personally, I like the Nathan QuickDraw and Ultimate Direction FastDraw. Both of these are extremely durable products and come with a small pouch to carry an I.D. and car keys. Nathan also makes a line of fuel belts with mini-water bottles on it. I prefer to carry the water bottle in my hand for shorter runs. During the marathons, I also carry a bottle and re-fill it at the water stops. This allows me some time to sip it as I run instead of trying to gulp it down as I run from a cup! The product links below are some of the better water bottle products on the market for runners:
For training runs over an hour, I usually switch to using a CamelBak (water back-pack). These are really nice products that come with bladders ranging from a liter (quart) to over 100 ounces! I use a 70-ounce CamelBak and fill it with a diluted sports drink which is a good source of water / electrolytes for long workouts. What I really like about the CamelBak is the convenient straw that clips just inches from your mouth on the shoulder strap. I can also attach my blinking LED, reflectors, and MP3 player to the CamelBak. The shoulder straps are comfortable and there is a weight bearing strap that goes across the chest for added stability…nice feature. And while 70-ounces of water is almost 5 pounds of weight, it’s barely noticeable when sitting squarely on your shoulders. If you’re looking for ways to take enough water for the those long runs, check out some of the product links below or this review of the 10 best hydration backpacks on runnerclick.com.
Proper hydration can be a difference maker between optimal performance and serious injury. The products above can give you an edge both in training and racing. Best of luck & happy running!!