|Marathon & Half Marathon Training • Relay & 5K Training • Q&A with Dr. Rahl
Baylor Quick Tips
Proper hydration is key to your successful performance in a run. More importantly, it can also help prevent heat-related illnesses. In athletes, dehydration can cause decreased coordination, fatigue and muscle cramps. As a runner, you need to monitor what you drink and how much before, during, and after exertion.
Hydration Before Your Run
Several days before a long run, you should stay well hydrated. Passing a large amount of pale urine about six times a day indicates you’re drinking enough of the right kinds of fluids, specifically water and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol will dehydrate you and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. On the day of your run – about an hour before start time – drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated beverage. Don’t drink anything after that so you can pass any remaining fluids and avoid having to take a bathroom break during the run. Right before you start the run, you can drink another four to eight ounces of water or a sports drink.
Hydration During Your Run
During the run, you should drink six to eight ounces of fluid every 20 minutes. During longer periods of exertion i.e. 90 minutes or more, some of what you drink should include a sports drink like Gatorade to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
Hydration After Your Run
After the run, you must rehydrate with water or a sports drink, taking in 20 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of fluid lost. Your urine should appear light yellow. If it’s dark yellow, you need to keep drinking fluids.
Eating after a run
After a run, it’s important to replenish your energy as soon as possible. Research indicates that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after a run. Eating soon after a run will lessen the chance of muscle stiffness and soreness. Your post-run menu should consist primarily of carbohydrates and some protein, about one gram of protein for every three grams of carbohydrates. Nutrition bars, a bagel with peanut butter, or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt, are good choices. If solid food doesn’t sound appealing right after your run, chocolate milk is a good option. Chocolate milk contains protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins, all of which you need to refresh after a long run.
Eating before a run
Before a run, you shouldn’t feel overly hungry or overly full. Eating right before a run can lead to cramping, and running on an empty stomach can make you run out of energy. The most effective way to eat is to have a light snack or small meal about two hours before your run. The best foods are those high in carbohydrates and low in fat, fiber and protein. These include a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal and milk. Avoid rich, very fatty, or high-fiber foods since they can cause gastrointestinal problems during your run.
Plan for adequate rest
Physical training stresses the body and during recovery, it adapts. Without rest and recovery, no adaptation can occur. What defines rest is different for every runner, but a regular, complete day of rest is necessary for every athlete. Program it in and adhere to it.
The common error in marathon preparation is simply not preparing. Running 26.2 miles is an enormous athletic endeavor that even the most elite athletes cannot approach on a whim. Preparation should begin at least four to six months in advance and be a specific program designed for marathon preparation. Anything less WILL result in injury and ultimately will prevent one from achieving his or her goal.