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Coaches Corner: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

July 22, 2015

Coach Taneen Carvell

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

By Coach Taneen Carvell

FACT: You need to hydrate! Not just during the run, but every single day. If you consistently stay well hydrated, you will not face deficits during or after your run.

TIPS AND TRICKS: I make it a goal to drink two water bottles filled with water and a Nuun tab each day. A treat of a Pellegrino to bubbly up the fun when I’m in a hydration rut works, too. Whatever it takes to keep to the task of hydrating every day.

FACT: Carrying or wearing a hydration system is a pain!

TIPS AND TRICKS: Not carrying or wearing them is more of a pain. The effects of heat stroke or dehydration will prove far more devastating to your training, recovery, and overall health, I promise. Headache, nausea, cramps, fatigue – now that’s a pain!

  • To narrow your options, go to your local sporting goods or running store to see the products, hold them, and compare them. The reality is you will likely buy one and hate it, buy another kind altogether and either like it better or hate it morewhich will likely make the first one seem not so bad. Like sneakers, there is no one right brand. It’s a matter of finding what works for you!
  • nalgenebottleStyle options include hand-held, waist belt with bottles, or backpack – those are your three basic choices. Brands vary and include Nathan, Amphipod, Fuel Belt, and Camelback. Use larger-size bottles for longer distances. The small 6-oz. is good for the 3- to 4-mile run, but won’t do for those runs as long as 8 to 10!
  • Swap and share! Share what you bought but didn’t like with others, to see if it can find a better mate.

nathan1-300x300What do I use? I’ve used the fuel belt for a long time, and it worked until they changed the waistband – then it didn’t fit. Now I carry a hand-held, to which I’ve grown accustomed. I caution women especially to make sure not to pick a hand-held that’s too big for the hand to carry comfortably. It causes stress in your shoulder and arm if your hand is straining to hold the bottle. They are available in more ergonomic styles, so do some shopping around.

NO! A bottle of Aquafina from the 7-11 is not a hydration system. Nor is a Nalgene bottle. They are heavy and awkward and will cause damage to your shoulder and your stride.

FACT: Water is great, but you must supplement with electrolytes, and salt as well – especially on hot, humid days. Water alone is actually further flushing out the needed salt from your system (that you are already busy sweating away).

  • Gatorade on the run is a first step. If you don’t care for the sweetness or intensity, blend the Gatorade with water to dilute it a bit but still get the electrolyte benefits. It’s what is most often used on the race course as well, so getting used to it on some level is a good idea.  There are a host of organic-based powders to add to your water. Check out brands like Ozmo or Skratch (www.skratchlabs.com). Bike shops are the best source to find these products, and often have sample packs available so that you can try them before committing to a big tub.


  • Nuun tabs (www.nuun.com) are great for daily use, but do not provide enough in a tablet to help you on the run. Unless you add three to four tablets in a standard water bottle, they are not touching the needed electrolyte or salt support. I take Hammer Nutrition Enduralytes (www.hammernutrition.com) as a supplement to my hydration.
  • Salt Stick (www.saltstick.com) is another brand that provides a salt/electrolyte supplement. I speak of these often and strongly suggest you try them if you struggle with the effects of heat. The directions for Enduralytes say to take two to three pills every hour while exercising. Yes, two to three; one won’t do the trick. Salt Stick offers a more concentrated formula, so only one is needed per hour; but the stronger concentration may be harder on your stomach. Again – it’s a try-itand- see-what-works. But: TRY THEM!

FACT: Relying on water fountains is not hydrating. Nor is relying on water stations in a race. You need it when you need it, not when they have it. If you wait that two miles (or find that the water fountain you waited two miles to get to is not working), you have started the dehydration process, and you will not be able to ‘catch up’ another two miles later.

That’s a wrap!

Rev it up and rally ON!!
Coach T

Coach T is training for her 7th Ironman. She is also pursuing her goal of qualifying for Kona in 2016.

To learn more about Coach T visit: www.coachtrally.com

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