Sunday, February 14, 2010
Should I Drink at Every Aide Station?
Yes, take full advantage of every fluid station and consume fluids! An athlete’s primary duty during endurance events is to replace fluids and electrolytes, while maintaining a steady stream of energy to keep their muscles and mind sharp. Learn to drink on a schedule not based on thirst. Thirst is an indicator that you've already gotten behind in hydrating, which means your "time to finish" has just increased! In long distance races, most aide stations are spaced out every 1.5 miles. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends athletes drink enough fluid to stay in fluid balance or 6-12 ounces, at 15-20 minute intervals. How do you know if you're in fluid balance? See my previous post to calculate your sweat rate.
Here's my fluid station plan for a 25K race. I run 8.15 minute miles, sweat very little, and will hit an aide station every 12-13 minutes (8.15 miles x 1.5 miles). I will be drinking 4-5 ounces of fluid at each of the 10 aide stations or 5-6.25 cups of fluid by the end of the race. This makes sense based on my sweat rate too, because I've gone out a couple of times without a water bottle, thinking I'm going to go < 1 hour and wind up doing 9-10 miles. When I get back my sweat rate calculation shows I've lost 2 pounds which is ~ 4 cups fluid. Obviously I didn't train as well as I could had I carried a sports beverage and not run "dry", but spontaneity is part of being a runner!
Check back next time and will talk about how many Carbs that fluid should carry!