Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Training Essentials: Hydration!

Since I'm taking a break from serious running (see yesterday's post for an explanation), I figure now is as good a time as any to talk about another training essential: hydration! This is hardly a sexy topic, but it's important (as I found out over my Christmas holiday when I wound up in bed for two days from dehydration!).

During the summer, getting water on the run is easy because there are so many water fountains along my routes but during the winter, all those fountains get turned off. That means if I want water, I have to carry it.

Back in 2007 when I was training for my first marathon purchased a water bottle and holder from Ultimate Direction. It  had a pocket that could hold a couple gels (we'll talk about those another day), keys, etc. The bottle also had a nice rubber top ("kicker valve") that you could pull out easily with your teeth. Out of all the water bottles I've had this was my favorite, not just for running, but for biking too, since you really only needed one hand to use it. Unfortunately, as I see it, it had two shortcomings:

(1) The kicker valve came unglued and I had to replace the top of the water bottle during a training cycle. Thankfully my local running store let me do this for free.

(2) I didn't like running with a pack around my waist--it made me nauseous. Now that is totally a personal thing since many folks I know swear by belts of various kinds. I just know it was more me.

For my subsequent training cycles I've gone with a different bottle, the Hydraform Thermal-Lite from Amphipod. This is a handheld bottle so there's nothing to wear around your waist. Although I'll admit it took a little getting used to, after almost two years with this things I barely notice I'm carrying it anymore. The bottle is shaped to fit your hand and it has a strap that also has a mini-storage pocket (it'll hold keys--not much else). I ended up with an "insulated" model but I'm not sure the insulation does all that much (for $4 less you can get it without the insulation).

I realize this whole entry almost sounds like an advertisement so let me say clearly that no one paid me to write any of this (wouldn't that be great if they did though? Running can get expensive!). There's also nothing essential about buying a special water bottle. I have plenty of long runs over the years where for some reason or another I end up running with a disposable water bottle and they work fine too. I just like know that I'm reusing a bottle instead of generating waste. It also helps that I had a gift certificate that I used both times I need a bottle. Anyway, this is way more than you probably wanted to know about this kind of drinking.
Today's Run (Yes, there was a run today and I didn't notice any Achilles pain though I'm not out of the woods yet):
5.3 miles at 7:55 pace.

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