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Need advice on hydration strategy. (Read 110 times)

mab411


Proboscis Colossus

    Okay, so my last marathon, I PR'ed, but didn't quite get my goal time of 3:30 due to having to stop to pee a couple of times.  Since then, I've noticed that, even on longer training runs lasting two hours or more, I'll often (not always) need to go by the end.

     

    Wondering if I'm just hydrating too much before the races/runs?  Don't have time to go into exactly how much I usually drink and when, but I didn't think it was an excessive amount (short answer: I'm not forcing liquids, just drinking to thirst.  Before that last race, I had a bottle of Gatorade).  Got a goal marathon coming up Saturday, and I'm wondering if I should, in opposition to the conventional wisdom I've always heard, back off the hydration going into the race, and then just hydrate to thirst during it.

     

    Thoughts?

    "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

      Well, you could try experimenting by drinking "more than to thirst" 2 or 3 hours before the race/run. Drink nothing after that up until right before the race. Two or three hours should be enough time for your body to pee out any extra and get it out of the stomach. Right before the race/run you could have a few more sips of liquid, but keep it to a minimum.


      Latent Runner

        First off, I hear you on the bio-break thing; good thing I spend 99% of my time running on rural trails.  Smile

         

        Next, one thing I've noticed as I get older (I'm 56) is that almost regardless of how much (or how little) I've had to drink in the previous several hours, I virtually always need to pee withing the first mile of a run.  For the few 5Ks I ran last summer I just "dealt with it" and concentrated on the race, however, in the run-up to the 10-miler I ran on what was promising to be a hot and humid day over Labor Day weekend, I needed a better plan.

         

        Race time was 9:00 AM, I hydrated well the night before, went to bed relatively early (maybe 10:00 PM), and set my alarm for 4:30.  Why so early?  I got up, made a light breakfast of two eggs, two pieces of buttered toast, and a pot of green tea (about a liter and a half), and then went back to bed for a couple of hours.

         

        Once at the race location I queued up in the port-a-potty as near to start time as I dared, and then lined up for the start.  Like clock-work, I felt the urge within the first half of a mile, however, given that I hadn't had anything to drink in over four hours, said urge wasn't all that, ummm, urgent, and I was able to complete the entire run without becoming uncomfortable (or uncomfortably dehydrated).

        Fat old man PRs:

        • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
        • 2-mile: 13:49
        • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
        • 5-Mile: 37:24
        • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
        • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
        • Half Marathon: 1:42:13


        I'm back!

          Depending on the race, a very useful trick is to wear a large garbage bag into the corral. Take a wide-neck Gatorade bottle containing some of your fluid of choice. Chug some just before the start (your kidneys will not have time to do much before ramping down as you start running), then voilà, instant private porta-potty. I never cease to be amazed at how much is left in there, just before starting Boston, when I availed myself of the portapotties just outside the corrals 15 minutes earlier.

           

          And yeah, I try not to drink after two hours to race start, except just before the start. Then, at least if you follow Noakes, you want to drink a fair amount, with some carbs, to start feeding carbs into your bloodstream as quickly as possible. The idea is that stomach drain rate is proportional to how full the stomach is.

            I have learned through experience that what works best for me is to not drink any liquids within two hours of the start of a race; EXCEPT I will take a small drink of water or sport drink within 5 minutes or so of the start of a race. I did this for my marathon this summer and made it all the way through the race without needing a "bio-break". I drank sips of water or sport drink at every single aid station along the course and did not get too dry and did not have to pee, and temps at the end of the race were about 72 F.

             

            Before any race I always have two cups of black tea with milk and sugar with my breakfast, and a cup of water as well, about 3-4 hours out from the race. I know that I will have to pee several times before the start of the race, but as long as I take care of that, I  will not need to pee DURING the race.

             

            I've given up the pre-race coffee because it tends to make me feel the urge to pee more and sometimes will  upset my stomach if it's too strong. 

            elodie.kaye


              I've given up the pre-race coffee because it tends to make me feel the urge to pee more and sometimes will  upset my stomach if it's too strong. 

               

               

              +1  Skipping coffee alone did it for me.  I stop drinking an hour before the race (or long run) and then drink to thirst during.  I don't need a bio-break on runs of any length any more, even if I'm out for 4+h.  I have the coffee afterwards.


              Finally PRed!!!

                As others have said, I stop drinking a couple hrs before the race, except I will drink a small amount just before the start. Then drink to thirst during. I have never had to stop to pee during a marathon, even back when I ran them in the 5 hr range.

                PRs: 5K: 22:09, 10K:44:55, 15K: 1:10:35, HM: 1:42:49, M: 3:32:09

                mab411


                Proboscis Colossus

                  Thanks, everyone!  I think I am going to not drink quite as much that morning, and cut it off entirely a couple of hours before the race start.  Maybe a few sips from my hydration pack in the chute.

                   

                  bhearn, I've heard of the garbage bag thing before.  And as many things as I've become comfortable with through my running - mid-race flatulence, short shorts, heck, use of a port-a-potty without hand sanitizer - peeing in a crowd hasn't made the list yet!  Blush  Especially since this will be a much smaller race - 700-runner cap - and I don't anticipate it being that kind of environment before the starting gun (in fact, I sort of anticipate being able to use the port-a-potty pretty easily at any time pre-race, it's one of the reasons I'm trying a smaller race this year).  Besides, the amount that I had to dispense during my last race, I don't think would have been alleviated by a quick, sneaky tinkle like that.  Thanks for the reminder about the carbs, though, I am going to munch on some chews in the starting corral.

                   

                  Kind of an interesting wrinkle I've started to anticipate as I look at the weather forecast for Saturday...it's starting to look like it'll be a cold one (and windy too, oh joy). Last time I ran a marathon in cool, moist conditions, I ended up in the medical tent, where they told me that I had probably dehydrated because, when we're not sweating as much (or at least, when I don't detect it), we tend not to drink as much as we should because we don't think we need it - i.e., we're not thirsty.

                   

                  Now, it doesn't look too much like it'll be raining on Saturday, but does that sound right?  Should I maybe make myself hydrate at regular intervals, whether I'm thirsty or not?

                  "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people


                  Latent Runner

                    Now, it doesn't look too much like it'll be raining on Saturday, but does that sound right?  Should I maybe make myself hydrate at regular intervals, whether I'm thirsty or not?

                     

                    This.

                     

                    Rarely do I skip a water station unless the race is real short (like 5K).

                    Fat old man PRs:

                    • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
                    • 2-mile: 13:49
                    • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
                    • 5-Mile: 37:24
                    • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
                    • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
                    • Half Marathon: 1:42:13
                    mab411


                    Proboscis Colossus

                      Okay, race is over...here to give a report.  Sad to say, I still have some work to do on my hydration strategy.

                       

                      The night before, I backed off the hydration...not to the point that I was thirsty, but just not pushing fluids like I have in the past.  Morning of, at about 4:30 I drank a 20-oz. Gatorade (by "drank," I mean started...I guess I finished it by about 5:00).  Then nothing else until a few minutes before the 7:00 race start, when I had a few sips from my hydration pack.  Due to the great logistics of the smaller race, I was able to pee about 6:45.

                       

                      ...and sure enough, at about mile 4 or 5, the "pee monster" reared its head.  This time, though, I just stuck it out, and by about mile 14, the discomfort had sort of assimilated itself into the general discomfort the run itself was causing from the waist down.  Sure made for a less enjoyable first half and probably contributed to muscle fatigue, though.

                       

                      I did make myself take a few sips every mile or so, like we talked about, even though I was not thirsty.  Did not take any electrolyte drink on the course, but I did have a couple of Gu's, which I don't always do.  It's my understanding there are electrolytes in Gu, so I considered that aspect of nutrient intake to be covered.

                       

                      I may still need to work on that, though, because my condition after the race was the same as it always is after I race a marathon: calves in agony and trying to cramp, and uncontrollable shaking.  Worse than usual this time, though that may well have been due to the low temp and wind we experienced.  Anyway, I'm told the cramps/soreness may be due to a lack of electrolytes, and the shaking may be due to dehydration.

                       

                      If that's true, I'd like to try to take in more electrolytes next time, and I guess I need to hydrate more...but the thing is, I hydrated more in the race before this, the one I linked to earlier where I had to stop and pee a couple of times, and I still had some of the shakes post-race (though not nearly as bad).  I may have backed it off too much for this one...but if I'm still having to urinate mid-race, I'm not exactly sure where to go with it.

                      "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                        Bhearn - the garbage bag trick is genius. Probably tougher to get away with when it's warm out? From now on whenever I see anyone wearing a bag at a race, I am going to wonder what he is doing under there.

                         

                        mab - I am not in any way an expert, anything I say was picked up on these forums. But it seems like a prevailing theory is that calf cramps are often less due to electrolytes as is traditionally believed, and more due to just outrunning your level of fitness. I am not qualified to judge your training plan & race pace, but hey, slow down buddy, what's your hurry? And BTW - worst race report ever!! What was your finish time?

                        Dave


                        Latent Runner

                          Okay, race is over...here to give a report.  Sad to say, I still have some work to do on my hydration strategy.

                           

                          The night before, I backed off the hydration...not to the point that I was thirsty, but just not pushing fluids like I have in the past.  Morning of, at about 4:30 I drank a 20-oz. Gatorade (by "drank," I mean started...I guess I finished it by about 5:00).  Then nothing else until a few minutes before the 7:00 race start, when I had a few sips from my hydration pack.  Due to the great logistics of the smaller race, I was able to pee about 6:45.

                           

                          ...and sure enough, at about mile 4 or 5, the "pee monster" reared its head.  This time, though, I just stuck it out, and by about mile 14, the discomfort had sort of assimilated itself into the general discomfort the run itself was causing from the waist down.  Sure made for a less enjoyable first half and probably contributed to muscle fatigue, though.

                           

                          I did make myself take a few sips every mile or so, like we talked about, even though I was not thirsty.  Did not take any electrolyte drink on the course, but I did have a couple of Gu's, which I don't always do.  It's my understanding there are electrolytes in Gu, so I considered that aspect of nutrient intake to be covered.

                           

                          I may still need to work on that, though, because my condition after the race was the same as it always is after I race a marathon: calves in agony and trying to cramp, and uncontrollable shaking.  Worse than usual this time, though that may well have been due to the low temp and wind we experienced.  Anyway, I'm told the cramps/soreness may be due to a lack of electrolytes, and the shaking may be due to dehydration.

                           

                          If that's true, I'd like to try to take in more electrolytes next time, and I guess I need to hydrate more...but the thing is, I hydrated more in the race before this, the one I linked to earlier where I had to stop and pee a couple of times, and I still had some of the shakes post-race (though not nearly as bad).  I may have backed it off too much for this one...but if I'm still having to urinate mid-race, I'm not exactly sure where to go with it.

                           

                          The only two possible changes which jump out at me would be to:

                          1. Over hydrate the night before.
                          2. Do the morning hydration thing an hour earlier relative to race time.

                          Fat old man PRs:

                          • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
                          • 2-mile: 13:49
                          • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
                          • 5-Mile: 37:24
                          • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
                          • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
                          • Half Marathon: 1:42:13

                            ...and sure enough, at about mile 4 or 5, the "pee monster" reared its head.  This time, though, I just stuck it out, ...

                            I guess you haven't read the "Dick hurt ..." thread.

                             

                            I learned a lot reading Science of Sport's hydration and muscle cramps series.

                            “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                            mab411


                            Proboscis Colossus


                              mab - I am not in any way an expert, anything I say was picked up on these forums. But it seems like a prevailing theory is that calf cramps are often less due to electrolytes as is traditionally believed, and more due to just outrunning your level of fitness. I am not qualified to judge your training plan & race pace, but hey, slow down buddy, what's your hurry? And BTW - worst race report ever!! What was your finish time?

                               

                              Lol, don't worry, I'll put up a quick race report later, in the "Racing" forum!  It was a fairly uneventful race, other than what I mentioned here, though.  Short version: small, local races are great logistically but boring in terms of crowd support, and I beat my goal time by 11 seconds (3:19:49).

                               

                              I dunno, maybe I am outrunning my level of fitness, but if so, I always outrun my level of fitness, because the calf thing happens every time I race.  And I'm usually pretty good about sticking to my training paces.  Doesn't happen when I just run that distance, though (like if I'm pacing a slower runner), so I guess that might support the outrunning theory.

                              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people