A recent article in Runner’s World Highlights Desi Davila as a favorite for the upcoming Olympic marathon trials (She subsequently got second, WOOT!). How does a small running club in Rochester produce some of the biggest distant running talent in the country? Maybe it’s in the water…
Well, probably not but there is a lot to be said for hydration. In fact, the human body is 70% water and even a 2% loss in body weight is enough to have negative physiological consequences for training and performance. Intense training decreases blood plasma volume which causes your heart to beat faster and limits your ability to cool off, thus curtailing aerobic capacity.
This is especially true in the winter when you don’t feel like you’re sweating as much because the sun isn’t beating down on you. However, even though it’s cold, we are still losing water through respiration, sweat and urination. Furthermore, don’t overlook the winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and even sledding which can be strenuous and deplete body fluids. Coupled with extra layers and over active thermostats, winter dehydration is more likely to sneak up on you and diminish your performance.
To ward off dehydration, you should aim to drink 2 cups of water an hour or two before exercising. As a rule of thumb, your weight in ounces divided by two is about how much you should be drinking per day. If that ice cold water bottle isn’t tempting after a run in the blizzard, try heating up some tea or hot cocoa to rehydrate, just be careful of caffeinated beverages which can have a diuretic effect. Also, just because fall harvest has ended don’t pass up fruits and vegetables. These can be an important source of hydration so look for fruits like oranges and grapefruit and root vegetables which are in season during the colder months. If you feel thirsty, have dry mouth, are light-headed, can’t focus well, feel tired or notice your skin is dry then you definitely need to drink more water.