Hydration Station

As I may have illuded in my previous post – hydration is not my strong-suit, and I sometimes suffer as a result of poor hydration.

Let me paint a painful picture for you of what not to do.

Last week after a long work week, my beloved roommate begged  casually asked me to join her at the bar (she is a fortunate soul who has “summer hours”) – so I did.

I did this knowing full well that I would have to do a 9 mile run the next day – and that the weather the past 2 weeks in Chicago has been hot and muggy.

But I said to myself: “Sarah, you can still go and have A (as in single) beer, and some food, just DRINK WATER”.

Well one beer turned into 3 beers, a mixed drink, and pierogi’s and A (yes as in single) glass of water.

Got that a little backwards.

Got home.  Drank half a bottle of water.  Got up drank 1/4 of the bottle of water.

Here is the general progression of my run (Please note that 9 miles turned into 7)

Ran 3 miles with little water, because I didn’t carry a hand held – and there aren’t many drinking fountains the route I did my first 3.

Around mile four I was moving really slow, but finally got water.  Around mile 5 I took my headband and soaked with cold water – yes I drank some water too.

At mile 6 I stopped for more water.

At mile 6.25 I stopped at a touristy lakefront smoothie stand, bought a bottle of water, and drank half of the bottle in probably about 30 seconds.

Mile 6.5 > threw up in my mouth a little and realized that this run was just DOA

Made it to mile 7 because lets be realistic – I can’t just run 6.5 miles – it has to be an even number

Mile 7.1 Died.

what would have been Mile 8 – Threw up in bush.

Hopefully we can all learn from this.

As I’ve said before -people react differently to different types of weather.  But regardless when it is hot and humid – we sweat more, and it is important that you prepare for this, and hydrate adequately before during and after.

Hydrate how?

Most of the time just plain old water will work just fine.  However, activity in the summer in the heat and humidity is a bit different.  You will be sweating more and need more help repleting.  You also should be aware if you are a salty sweater (do you get the little white granules on your face/back/arms) or feel like you have dirt on your skin?  Then you’re a salty sweater.  It’s ok I am one too.  But sodium is an electrolyte along with potassium, and chloride and your body depends on these being in balance.  So it’s in your best interst to opt for a beverage that provides electrolytes.

Anytime the word “electrolyte” is mentioned – many people probably think “Gatorade”.  While gatorade/powderade will do the trick, there are other options as well.  As in options that provide carbohydrates and electrolytes – without added “things” like dyes’, etc.

Personally I do not like gatorate when I run – I like it when I am done, but not during.  Some of my favorite beverages mid-run are water add-ins.  Like Nuun, Clif, and Gu Brew.




Nuun took me a second to get used to, but now it’s one of my favs – I love the Tri-Berry.  I acutally really like and use all of the three products I just mentioned, both their electrolyte drinks and respective recovery drinks.  I am also considering buying some All-Day Nuun to help zazz up my water drinking.

I do not drink any caffeine when I run – despite my tolerance for it throughout the day – I cannot tolerate caffeine well when I run – due to some pretty awful acid reflux.

And the thing with hydrating – you really don’t want to wait to/allow yourself to get to the point of actually feeling thirsty.  Thirst is your body’s way of saying “I’m dehydrated, give me fluids”.  But waiting too long in a race or on a run/cycle could not only be detrimental to your performance but be dangerous.

Which is one of the reasons why I think carrying a handheld (water bottle)/or wearing a belt is a really good idea.  It can be a plastic bottle you hold in your hand, or you can actually go online/to a sporting goods store/a cycling shop/a running store, and pick one up.  I recommend if you plan to order online go to a store first – and try on different ones – and try to see which type/brand you would be more comfortable with.

Nike Hydration Belt

It’s really a good idea to figure out what type you prefer: fuel belts vs handhelds. Each have advantages and people have their own good reasons for being partial to one over the other. I get stuff like this at Fleet Feet in Chicago- running stores or stores geared towards running will sometimes have really awesome satisfaction/return policies – as in if you use it, and don’t love it, bring it back to the store for a refund within 30 days.

For instance I once got a handheld that actually blistered my hand. I returned it and they gave me a full refund – well they exchanged it for another one.

Fuel belts are nice for the folks who don’t like having things in their hands while they run. You can get multi bottle belts or a belt that holds are larger bottle. For me- I do have a few belts I use – but I don’t like it bouncing – so I tighten it – which used to be ok- but now that tightness around my middle upsets my acid reflux.

Nathan Quick Draw plus
This little number is the one I use for any runs 6 miles and above – especially on hot days

However handhelds do take some getting used to. Sometimes I fidget so bad that I do get blisters on my hand. But ultimately – to me it is the easiest way to hydrate. I have a small and later bottle – both handhelds are by Nathan. They have small zipper compartments for easy placement of treasures (I.e gels, bloks, keys, etc) but a word to the wise – the more “treasures” you hoard – the heavier the bottle.

This little guy is perfect to break out for runs once the weather heats up.  Due to its small size - it may not be ideal for longer runs
This little guy is perfect to break out for runs once the weather heats up. Due to its small size – it may not be ideal for longer runs


Once you find what you like places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls are great places to get deals on these types of items belts and handhelds.  In terms of the drinks above- they can all be purchased on their respective websites, at sporting goods stores, and specialty running/cycling stores.

I like Nuun probably the most because it provides a flavor that I feel like is subtle – but good.   But I will say I do personally use all of the things I have talked about in this post – all of which I purchased myself, and use .  My recommendations are based on personal use, and preferences.  I tend to enjoy using my handheld a bit more, and prefer the tastes of Nuun and Gu Brew the most.  I use one Nuun Tablet when I run, and will toss another tablet in a cold bottle of water post-run.

So remember folks – it’s hot out.  So don’t try to be a badass, hydrate before, during, and after.  Not only will poor hydration impact your performance – it can have more serious consequences such as electrolyte imbalances or even passing out.  IMG_4363

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