Feb 18

Winter Hydration – 4 Common Mistakes

photoI didn’t get too far into this during my weekly recap Tuesday, but I was out at North Park last Sunday doing my 15 mile long run and for some reason was extremely, uncomfortably cold.

Yeah, I know, it’s winter, duh! But seriously, I’ve run in much colder temperatures this season and managed just fine. My hands were the biggest problem. Unusual for me. So after my first five mile loop, I decided to put my water bottle in my car. It felt like a block of ice in my hand and I thought ditching it would help.

I know better than that. :(

I sipped again after loop 2 at the 10 mile mark and finished the last 5 mile look wondering if I would ever regain use of my fingers. Judging by what was left in the bottle, I probably drank about 4 ounces total

I got into my car when I was finished and tried to thaw out. I drove the 35 minutes back home, without drinking much during the drive and started to feel a little queasy. I immediately took a warm shower when I got home. Do not pass go…. and when I was by the time I was finished felt absolutely awful. My head hurt, my stomach felt sick and all I could manage to do was curl up on my bed and wait for it to pass.

I’m chalking my bad post-run experience up to mild dehydration. I’ve been through it before and I made the most common mistakes a runner can make when it comes to winter hydration or hydration in general. Oh, and I pretty much made them all last week.

Mistake one: Not taking the long run seriously. Before a race, I am absolutely meticulous about what I eat AND making sure that I drink enough the day before and the morning of. For some reason I blew all this off last Sunday. Just a training run I told myself. But, when you step back and look at it…. yes, I ran a half marathon and then some. What was I thinking?? Your long runs prepare you for the big dance, so practice your routine you plan follow.

Mistake Two: Carrying ICE water. when I filled my water bottle in the morning, I included a nice helping of ice cubes. I know what it’s like on a run to want nothing more than ice cold water. However, when the temps are below freezing, leave the ice at home and instead start with luke warm water. The water will chill in no time and you won’t feel like you’re carrying around a block of ice.

Mistake Three: Assuming you won’t sweat as much in the winter. No matter when I run, in the summer or in the winter, I always bring a towel and a dry shirt/shirts to change into. Because no matter when I run, I am drenched when I’m done. Yes, even last week when I felt so cold, I sweat through three layers. Fluid loss is not just for summer. As a guideline, weight yourself before and after your run, for every pound lost, drink 20 ounces of fluid. And, in case you were wondering, I DO NOT carry a scale around with me. Ha! When I do long runs around my house and I can weight myself right afterwards, I typically lose three pounds.

Mistake Four: Not having a water goal during your runs. Either that, or ignoring it. LOL. For most runs that will be longer than 1.5 hours, I make is a habit to sip every 10 minutes after the first 30. This typically works for me so I stick with it. It also keeps my mind occupied making sure I hit those 10 minute marks.

I’ve made hydration mistakes many times, always with the same negative result. This Saturday, during my 15 mile race, I plan to be a bit more mindful so I can enjoy the FOOD afterwards. :)

I figure this is a good start for toady. :)

20140220-200126.jpgHave a great weekend!


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  1. Running Bear

    Thanks for sharing this, advice I could have used last Friday! Sorry to hear you got hit with dehydration, but glad to hear you’ve got a plan going forward.

    The mistake 4 you list, not having a water goal, is my new big ticket item for my long runs. Using advice like yours and observing my own body’s behavior on the remaining long runs before the race, I hope to be well equipped to drink properly on race day.

    The icing on the cake…I ordered a larger handheld water bottle, paid extra for 2 day shipping to get it in time for Saturday, and Camelbak sat processing for an extra day before shipping, so UPS says it won’t be in until Monday :-( Bummer, but I’ll figure something out.

    1. Kim

      Sounds like you have a plan kind of lined up, or at least some new things to try. This is the time to do it. These long runs are the dress rehearsal. Hydration seems to stump all of us at one time or another.

  2. Kristy

    One of the things I love about North Park, is that I can keep water in my car, and take a drink, every loop. In the summer, the water fountains are plentiful, so it’s not as big of a deal.
    I sweat like crazy in the winter, I hate wearing so many layer.

    1. Kim

      The layers get on my nerves too. I swear sometimes I feel like it takes me an hour to get dressed. If I’m wearing compression socks, tack on another 30 minutes. HaHa. Those suckers are hard to get on.

  3. Tina@GottaRunNow

    It’s kind of surprising to me that I sweat when it’s so cold outside and about how long it takes to get dressed in layers like you mentioned in the comment. Fortunately, I run near a water fountain at the park. Nice!

    1. Kim

      The amount of layers is ridiculous…especially when it gets under 20 degrees. There are a lot of water fountains in our park, but they shut them off in the winter. :(

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