How Much Water Should You Drink?

elos / Pixabay

Drink 8 glasses of water a day.  Drink 64 ounces of water.  Divide your weight in half and drink that many ounces of water a day.

How much water should you be drinking in a day?  Hydration is important for everyone, not just athletes, but how are we supposed to know how much water to drink?

I decided to ask the internet.

The Mayo Clinic says that on average, women need 9 cups and men need 13.  But that’s not just water, it’s any beverage. Even caffeinated and alcoholic beverages count, but they shouldn’t be a major part of your hydration.  Oh, and some of your water can come from fruits and veggies and other foods (like soup, I suppose).  Well, and if you workout, you need more fluids.  So this number isn’t so easy to come by.

WebMD says that you need between 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of fluid for every pound of body weight.  Consume on the higher end if you are in a hot climate and/or exercise, lower end if you are a couch potato in the Arctic.  Okay, at least it’s quantifiable.

Then I found a calculation that says take your weight, multiply it by 2/3 and drink that many ounces of water.  If you exercise, add an additional 12 ounces for every 30 minutes you workout.

Of course, you don’t want to drink too much too quickly or you risk hyponatremia, which is basically low blood sodium.  The research indicates that adding electrolytes can help, but the big key seems to be just not drinking too much.  Drink to thirst, but don’t drink too much.

Putting all of this together, what does it mean?  Well, I’m no scientist, but I think the goal is to arrive at your workouts and races properly hydrated so that you don’t feel the need to overhydrate during the race.  So slowly up your fluid intake.  A lot of the calculators seem to show that at a minimum, you need half your body weight in ounces.  Yes, that includes the foods you eat, but I think it’s probably safe to just aim for half your body weight in ounces in drinkable fluids alone.  You’re not going to overhydrate from an apple or some broccoli.  Try it out, see how you feel.  But don’t force it, and try to spread it out. Nothing good will come from slamming down a liter of water right before bed because you find you’re under your water count for the day.

I used to be much better about hydration, but I’m generally better about it in the winter.  The dry air in my office leaves me feeling thirsty all the time so it’s easy for me to drink 64 ounces of water while just in the office.  In the summer, it’s cold in the office, so I’m less motivated to drink the water in front of me.  And the summer, when I’m racing in hot weather, is probably the most important time for me to worry about hydration.  So my goal is to slowly build up to drinking more fluids during the day.

Of course, this is just what I’ve managed to glean from reading various websites.  Many of you may know more.  How do you handle hydration?

Wednesday Workout Recap

And we go from a recovery week to a taper week.  Getting back to normal training is going to be rough!

Monday – Rest day

Tuesday – Easy 3 miles with pickups to race pace.  This one was tough.  It was as if I just couldn’t get warmed up.  Took me 41 minutes, which is longer than usual, even though I was supposed to have pickups in the middle.

Wednesday – Easy 45 minute trainer ride.  It’s nice to just be able to sit in the trainer and spin.  It’s hard work, but I enjoy that it requires zero thinking.

Thursday – Team Fight Swim.  Tonight we did an open water swim practice.  Instead of swimming myself, I helped out with some of the newer swimmers.  I give these girls a lot of credit.  They showed up at the beginning of the season completely unable to swim and they’re planning to get in the water and swim 1000 meters.  I don’t know that I’d have the guts to do it.  So I worked with one of the swimmers to try to build up her confidence.  I don’t know if it helped, but whatever happens to her on Sunday, she has done something awesome.

Friday – Just a bit of easy running and spinning on the bike to stay loose.

Saturday – Racked my bike and hung out with Kim at the IronGirl Expo getting people signed up for the upcoming IronGirl Columbia Half Marathon and 5K.

Sunday – RACE DAY!

Streeeeeeeetch. No really, stretch.

Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay

I am so terrible about stretching.  I mean, I try, but I need to make it more a part of my routine.  I’m fairly certain that the reason my muscles all locked up this weekend was due to lack of stretching and possibly a tiny bit of dehydration.  But mostly stretching.

So I’ve been researching stretching ideas.  One of the problems is that I’m not flexible and so I need super beginner stretches.  One of my fellow Coeur ambassadors suggested I check out the Couch Stretch, and that sounded good. I like couches.  But all the images I found were from Crossfit blogs and all I could think was “I cannot get into that position!”

Then I found this post from The Art of Manliness.  7 Simple Exercises that Undo the Damage of Sitting.  Now I am not very manly, and I do not have a handlebar mustache, but these stretches are right up my alley and the graphics are great.  Now I understand why the Couch Stretch carries that name.  You use a couch!  Yes, if you are stretchy, you can use a wall and the floor, but I am not very stretchy (yet).  I’ll get there though.

Stretching should probably be the fourth discipline of triathlon.  It’s an integral part of recovery and also key to quality performance.  I would like to not have my body cramp up on me during my next race, so here’s to becoming more limber!

Race Report – 2015 IronGirl Columbia Triathlon

11891213_10101800485454567_1629373212265962291_nFor the third year in a row, I returned to the IronGirl Columbia triathlon.  I love this race.  I love all the beginners and the general spirit of the race.  But though it is welcoming to beginners, this course is no joke.  It’s tough!

This year, I wanted to show improvement again.  And for most of the race, I thought I was showing improvement.  Of course, in my head, I had my race time for 2013, not 2014, so what I thought was a possible PR was actually slightly slower than last year’s race.  But that’s okay.  I still had a blast!

One big difference this year was that the Athenas were placed much later in the start waves.  That means I didn’t start til after 8am.  What should I have been doing in the 2+ hours I had while hanging out at the race?  Sitting.  What was I doing?  Not sitting.  Possibly not the best plan.

It was definitely a hot morning, and I used my Osmo Preload the night before and the morning of the race, but I’m not sure it was enough for me, as you’ll see.

One fun thing about having a later start wave was that I got to watch a lot of other ladies start the race.  It also meant that I saw a number of ladies get pulled from the swim.  The lake is calm, but if you’re not used to open water swimming, the first time can be scary.

This race uses a time trial start, which is definitely different from what I’m used to, but I think I like it.  It helps the packs get spread out a bit, which is nice for a race that is welcoming to all skill levels.  Plus I knew the two people getting us into the water, so it was fun to see friendly faces.

This swim was nothing fancy, but it just felt good.  Spotting the buoys was tough because for the first part we were in the sun, and then the final turn buoy… I don’t know if it was just a darker, dirtier orange than I’m used to, but it was hard to see.  This is a 1000m swim, so it’s a long sprint, but the swim just felt good.  Definitely better than two weeks ago when I felt like I was struggling.

I got out of the water and my right calf was all cramped up.  Made it tough to walk.  I had Osmo in my bike bottle and Margarita Clif Bloks, so I hoped that would help.

Swim: 28:20

This is a long run to T1, but I had a great place in the racks.  I’m still working on getting my cooling wings on faster, but the lack of sunburn is so worth the slight delay.

T1: 3:31

I know this bike course, but I don’t know it in the right order (I’m used to starting in a slightly different place), so I knew what I had coming.  It’s filled with hills, and I was quickly passing people who weren’t ready for the hills.  It was tough to see girls struggling on the early hills and I hoped they warmed up enough to do the later hills.

I was riding near a woman who was loudly huffing and puffing up the hills for comic effect and it was so funny that it got my mind off the tough course.  At one point, we were going up a tough hill and I crested a minute or so before her.  I could tell when she crested as she cried “WHEEEEEEE!” as she started soaring down.  I laughed out loud.  This is the sort of thing that makes me love this race.

Bike: 1:05:59

While I didn’t notice my calf on the bike, I did notice it as soon as I got off the bike.  This run was not going to be fun.

T2: 2:02

What I think I didn’t realize was just how hot and humid it was.  I felt like I was properly hydrating and taking the right amounts of sodium, but it was hotter than it seemed (probably because I was so wet, I wasn’t noticing it).  I probably needed more electrolytes at some point, because that calf cramp was no joke.  I still managed to keep up some pretty decent intervals, but I could tell my gait was off, as my hips started to cramp up, which led my back to cramp up.  I think that I was a mess.  But I just kept going.

Run: 45:36

And I was done!

Final: 2:25:31
8/21 Athenas under 40

36 seconds slower than last year.  36 seconds!  So close!  Honestly though, I’m okay with it.  The temperature was much different and I fought through some crappy cramping issues.  My swim felt great, even though it was a tiny bit slower than last year.  My bike was faster, so there’s improvement happening.

Of course, now I want to REALLY set a PR next year.

The Swagtastic Virtual Race for M4M

Remember back in the glory days of racing (like 5+ years ago) where you would go to packet pickup to get your bib and your swag bag and the swag bag was actually full of SWAG?  Product samples and all sorts of other items?  It seems like that has gone by the wayside.

The Swagtastic Virtual Race for Medals4Mettle is trying to change all that.  Sign up for the virtual race and you will be mailed a giant box of swag for signing up!

Boxes from the 2013 Race

Boxes from the 2013 Race

Over 30 endurance and health product suppliers donate their products for the swag box, which is mailed out to all participants.  Vendors this year include BiPro, Nordic Naturals, Manitoba Harvest, Zone Perfect, Ricola, Vous Vitamin, Mariani Dried Fruits, and many more.  They also have bonus swag that will be randomly added to boxes from great companies like gift certificates for Road ID, BondiBand, Trading Phrases wall decor, and many others.

Of course, the most important thing isn’t the swag.  It’s the charity that is benefiting from these races.  Medals4Mettle is an amazing group that takes race medals from runners and donates them to people battling illnesses who demonstrate courage and mettle in their fight.  They collect medals donated by runners and add a fabulous M4M ribbon and then get them in the hands of patients all around the world.  This amazing mission isn’t cheap, and for those of us not quite ready to part with our race medals, helping with the fundraising is another way to give back.

If you are someone who doesn’t care about race medals, consider donating them to Medals4Mettle.  Or maybe you’ve done Disney races and bought one of the amazing displays that comes with medals, so you have a second medal just taking up space in a drawer.  That medal would look great around the neck of a kid battling a terrible illness.

But back to the subject at hand.  The Swagtastic Virtual Races are being held October 9-12.  Sign up for the 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon. Run it with friends, run it alone.  Run indoors or outdoors.  Do it all at once or split the miles over a few days.  Count the miles while you run another local race (I, for example, have the Army Ten Miler that weekend).  It doesn’t matter how you get in the miles, what matters is that you’re doing something great for a great organization.

Okay, but how much does this cost?  It’s probably expensive, right?  Nope!  It’s only $35 to sign up and if you use the code ELBOWGLITTER, you can save $5 on your registration.  That means $30 for a virtual race with a fun box of swag that will be sent to your doorstep AND the majority of those funds will be going to Medals4Mettle.  Sounds like a win all around to me.

So go to the site. Sign up.  Tell them I sent you.  And have a great race!