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Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon: Hydration 101

The local Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon is Saturday, Nov. 10. I’m running the half marathon. Every day this week, I’ll devote a blog post to a race-related topic. Today’s discussion: hydration. How much water do you need, and is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

But first, a quick disclaimer: Saturday will be my fifth half marathon. Each time, I've informally collected tips from runners of all experience levels. More often than not, I found many of the tips contradicted each other. The bottom line? Running relies largely on finding what works for you and politely ignoring everything else.

Now, hydration. I kicked things off with this topic partially for personal reasons. After my two most recent half marathons (November 2011 and January 2012), I experienced a pretty extreme sick feeling. I felt fine during the races, felt fine during my first couple hours at home and then was hit with some massive stomach issues that lasted through the night. I'll spare you the nasty details, but I will note that vomit was involved. Sorry.

Anyway, after some casual attempts at self-diagnosis, I figured it must be a hydration issue.

A likely explanation? Maybe I wasn't hydrating enough after crossing the finish line. Runner's World offers some advice for post-race hydration: "Replace fluids, drinking enough so you have to use the bathroom within 60 to 90 minutes postrun. Usually eight to 24 ounces is fine, but it varies based on running conditions."

Then again, there's also the "before" and "during" aspects of hydrating for a race.

Here's the Runner's World advice for hydrating during a race: "A good general guideline is to drink 3 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. This averages out to grabbing a cup every other mile."

And before a race? "Drink eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run," according to Runner's World.

And yes, there is such thing as over-hydrating. Learn more here.