Tag Archives: hydration

Mid-Summer Adjustments + Race Week

It’s race week and there could not have been a better time to finally find my hot weather groove.  Since I’ve made my mid-summer adjustments, I’m feeling much better about this summer adjustmentsweekend’s upcoming race, Rock n Roll Chicago.  Not only will I be traveling to a fun city, have more runner friendly weather than here in Virginia Beach and check another state off my list, I actually think I’ll enjoy myself.

This summer started of much warmed than last and I really struggled through some seriously tough workouts that shouldn’t have been.  I was pretty close to resigning myself to suffering through the next 70 days of torture when I decided to make some changes just to see if they helped.  Hey, things couldn’t get worse!

Originally I thought all of my problems were related to hydration and my higher than last year sweat rate.  I was wrong.  Not completely, hydration still plays a big part in a successful workout, but the real source of my problems (I’m pretty sure) also included food.  In cooler weather, I can eat my chia seed before a workout and not have my muscles fight the food for fluid.  This doesn’t work for me in the heat at all.  Neither does fasted running.  The extra energy I use to cool myself when it’s hot makes an easy winter fasted run twice as hard.

My most important summer adjustments are moving my daily chia intake to after my workout and making sure I eat.  Even my easy afternoon runs with Team RWB Virginia Beach requires me to eat something pretty solid about an hour beforehand.  In addition to these seasonal training changes, finding and using this calculator that advises pace decisions based on the ‘feels like’ temperature was a huge help.  It gave me a lot of reassurance that my summer adjustments aren’t a bump in the training road but a necessity that won’t hurt come fall.

I’ll be taking my summer adjustments to Chicago this weekend and instead of just fighting to finish, I’m looking forward to a successful training race.


What kind of summer adjustments have you made this year?

Summer Hydration Issues

I’ve had more trouble these last few weeks with the hot, humid weather than I can remember ever having before.  My last few long runs have ended in disaster due to summer hydration issues.  I drink 60+ ounces of water and have stayed on track with my plan each day which makes it very frustrating when these long runs turn ugly and my preparation doesn’t seem to have mattered.  I’m trying to determine what’s making this year so different and am leaning towards one specific thing:  breakfast.  What does breakfast have to do with my summer hydration woes?

I eat chia seed with my breakfast.  Chia is a wonderful food full of fiber, antioxidants and omega-3s.  It makes you feel full and can help keep you hydrated by absorbing three times its weight in water.  I eat breakfast variably but the meal itself is 95% identical to the previous day: cereal, 2% milk, chia seed and a quick downing of 10-15 ounces of water.  Sometimes I’m starving when I wake up, sometimes it’s not until 10, sometimes it’s not at all.  While including at least one fasted workout in each week’s schedule has helped my summer hydrationbody learn to use fat as an energy source, I always eat before my long run.

During the fall, winter and spring I’m pretty flexible with when I’ll go out for my long run and when I eat my breakfast doesn’t much matter.  Morning, mid-morning or afternoon, I just go with the weather and what fits my schedule.  In cooler weather my sweat rate is pretty low and by the time I get out there, I’ve usually had plenty of time to suck down enough water to load that day’s chia seeds up.  No hydration issues.  Summer is different.  Those long runs have to get done early.  This means I eat my chia and drink my water only 10-15 minutes before heading out instead of hours and when I step outside, those chia seeds are probably still thirsty.

With my sweat rate skyrocketing on these hot days, I’m not only loosing what water I have in my body to the atmosphere but the chia is fighting my muscles for it, too.  The first step in fixing my summer hydration issues is to move my chia to the post-run afternoon.  Hopefully this will leave more water for my muscles and make this weekend’s long run better than the last.  If it does make a difference, I’ll stick with it.


What’s your summer hydration plan for long runs?  Do you change your diet with the seasons?

Fit Friday: Between Race Recovery

Starting next weekend I have three races in three weekends at two distances (trail 5k, road 13.1) and I’d like to PR both types of events.  Recovery is going to play a big role in how successful I am at these events, especially since I’ll be flying to and from the first one.  Whats works best for everyone’s recovery is different but this is my plan to keep my body ready for hard work.  With the ultimate goal of replenishing what I used during each race and repairing any damaged muscles, here are the four pieces that make up my recovery routine over the next few weeks.

Food.  Burning through 1,500 calories or more over a half marathon race morning can definitely deplete glycogen stores and refilling them properly is very important.  After crossing the finish line, I’ll immediately grab some easy to digest carbs for my, probably, growling stomach (I don’t eat anything during a half marathon race).  Next up will be 10-15 grams of protein and healthy fats through peanut butter, chocolate milk or whatever protein bar the race is handing out (as long as it meets my other nutrition standards: I know what everything in it is, mostly).  These quick post-race eats will hold me over until I can get to a bigger, healthy, filling and replenishing meal within two hours.

Fluids.  Hydration is something I work on daily by taking in at least 60 ounces of water and often working towards more.  Immediately post race, I’ll down at least one 16oz bottle of water and maybe a chocolate milk.  I don’t like the sugary sports drinks that are typically provided in the recoveryfinisher area at races and choose to refill on electrolytes through my quick salty carb snack (pretzels, if available) or the GPS Hydration I always carry in my race bag.  I’ll continue to consume at least 16oz of water each hour for three more hours post-race.

Foam rolling.  Before, after, and if I could, during.  My favorite recovery and stay ready tool, I love my foam roller and its friend, the lacrosse ball.  There are lots of benefits to foam rolling aside from the fact that it feels good.  It’ll get blood and oxygen flowing back to my needy muscles by breaking up any adhesions created by my race effort, help me relax and prevent soreness.

Compression.  I’ll be flying to first of these races and wearing my BioSkin compression gear on the flight will help keep the blood, oxygen and nutrition flowing through my muscles while in the air so I can arrive with fresh legs.  I slide, or tug, compression gear on for recovery after each race’s foam rolling session and again before boarding my return flight to keep my legs feeling good even when I’m stuck in a crunched seat.

That’s the recovery I’ll be doing after each race and on the days between as I run in three different states (two new!) in May’s first three weekends.


What’s your favorite way to recover?  What do you like to eat just after a race?

GPS Hydration

Not only is today Fit Friday, my package of GPS Hydration Sticks finally arrived, I had speed work on the schedule and it stopped raining for a while.  Speed work is exciting mainly because it doesn’t take two hours and I really enjoy pushing myself until I am nauseous.  Genesis Pure’s GPS Hydration Sticks were exciting for a totally different reason.

I don’t tend to have hydration issues, sometimes I even think I over hydrate, but every now and then, especially in the hot and humid Virginia Beach summer, I wish I had something other than water.  The sugary taste of most sports drinks is a total turn off, even after diluting them, and leads me straight back plain old water.  I’ve tried all the flavors of all the brands you can think of and found roughly none of them palatable.  Genesis Pure‘s all natural Fruit Punch flavored product looked much more GPS Hydrationappealing than those artificially flavored drinks with 1,000% of the daily requirement of Vitamin B12, 100% of my daily Vitamin C needs and only 6 grams of natural sugar.  With all those good for me, natural ingredients, I was ready to get hydrated and rock my speed work.

To the cabinet I went, removed a glass and stuck it under the faucet.  I debated using warm water to help the powder dissolve completely, but who wants to drink warm water?  Cool water it was.  The GPS Hydration packaging calls for one packet per 8 ounces of water, and while that sounded great, I poured my stick into the 10ish ounce glass of cool water I had just filled about 45 minutes before I set out for my speed work.  The packaging recommends one stick per 30 minutes of exercise, but I just wasn’t that thirsty and with only a warm up, four 1600M repeats and a cool down to do, my workout was going to take less than an hour.GPS Hydration  The pink Fruit Punch powder immediately started to dissolve in the cool water (yay), and as I stirred, it finished dissolving very quickly.  Not only did it smell great, but even in more than the recommended 8 ounces of water, the taste was wonderful, too.  Easy to drink, I had my 10ish ounces in about twenty minutes and at the bottom of the glass there was not one bit of leftover powder.  Nice to know I got everything I paid for!

Then it was time for the real test.  Running.  I had two major questions heading out to my one mile loop: would it slosh around in my tummy and would I actually feel hydrated and fresh.  Warm up was good, not a hint of any issues.  Stepping it up for 1600 #1, I knew if it was going to turn ugly this would be the time.  Nothing!  The answer to my first question was no.  Even though I had just finished drinking 10 ounces of water, nothing bounced around and it seemed to have absorbed very quickly.  On to 1600 #2.   My legs felt wonderful, my digestive system was doing just fine and I was both fast and consistent through the first half of my workout.  Normally I’d stop for a spot of water at the halfway point, but today I wasn’t the least bit thirsty.  Rolling through 1600s 3 and 4, I could give Question Two a resounding ‘Yes!’  I was definitely hydrated, my legs did great, my fluids were in balance and the run was fantastic.

After such a great experience today, I’ll be giving one of the GPS Hydration Sticks sister products a try.  The GPS E2 Energy Stick is meant to give me an energy boost to power long periods of exercise and with 105 minute run coming, I think I’ll have that covered.

What do you use to stay hydrated or to fuel your long runs?