Recently, the humidity started to pick back up with the changing of the Okinawa seasons (yes, we really do have winter, don’t we?!). Ariana asked about how much water to drink on runs so I grabbed the topic and here we are.
From the time that I began running here I have played around with how much to drink while running. I can tell you concretely that the amount of water to drink depends.
Factors to consider:
- how far you are running
- how fast you are running
- what time of day you are running
- what you are training for
- what season it is
and now, a little more detail:
1) How far you are running will affect how much you need. If you are out for an easy 3-4 miler, most likely you won’t need water. This is not as true at noon in the middle of the Okinawan summer (see points 3 and 5) or if you are out for a 20+ miler (point 4).
2) Running fast may require more water as you sweat more and breath out stronger, which is another way of losing water (but not as much as sweating).
3) Running at 5 AM or at 3 PM effects how hot it is, and what else you have done during the day. In the early morning, I often go right out the door, after rolling out of bed and drinking a glass of water. When I run later in the day, I have eaten breakfast and lunch (and let’s be honest, a few snacks), and drank a few cups of Joe. Things you do during the waking hours like going to the bathroom, use your body’s water supply, lowering what is available for your body to use during those later hour runs.
4) Running long requires you drink something and I love water as a fluid replacement. There is nothing more delicious than an ice cold bottle of water after 20 miles. But there is a balance that you have to strike here due to the danger of drinking too much water. A dangerous possibility exists for long distance runners called dilutional hyponatremia, when too much water is drank and the body cannot re-balance the amount of fluid to electrolyte ratio required.
5) Seasons here on Okinawa range from 50’s windy and chilly to low 90’s and 90% humidity. The amount of water you need, during summer is much greater.
I have tried Dean Karnazes advice on sipping every 15 minutes with a camelbak, and found myself looking for the nearest tree to squat behind too often. I tried following what my dad did during the war: get a canteen and drink it gone, hike a long way, get the next canteen and drink it gone. The stress of running in the summer was too great to work well for me on that one.
One of the running coaches I follow, Matt Fitzgerald, recommends drinking on thirst, instead of on a set amount or time-based.
...research has consistently shown that runners perform no worse and have no greater risk for heat illness when they simply drink according to their thirst, even though this typically results in only 65-70 percent replacement of sweat losses. While it is important to drink as often and as much as your thirst dictates during races, it’s a bad idea to drink more. t http://running.competitor.com/2014/01/nutrition/thirsty-avoid-these-6-hydration-mistakes-on-race-day_42976/
Following this method has worked well for me. And like all things in running, you have to do what works best for you. Share your method and any feedback is appreciated~!
References used were: livestrong.com, webmd.com, running.competitor.com and wikipedia.com