WATER – YOUR BEST AND FIRST CHOICE
Drink 16 ounces of water 2 hours before you begin to run (finish drinking at 7 am for a 9 am run). This will allow you to begin fully hydrated and give you time to use the restroom so you won’t have to stop mid-run!
Recent studies confirm that the sensations of thirst are sufficient to ensure proper hydration both before and during exercise.
Drinking too much water can result in hyponatremia, (the amount of sodium in the blood is lower than normal.) This very rare but dangerous condition is more likely to affect beginners running a full marathon in over 4 hours.
If you’re going to exercise for longer than 60-90 minutes, or if you start a workout on empty, use sports drinks to fuel you through your workout and keep you performing at your best. You’ll need 30-60 grams of carb each hour. (8 ounces sports drink has about 15 grams), as well as electrolytes to replace sweat losses.
Marathon race courses will have aid stations with sports drinks and water. If you prefer a particular flavor or brand you can carry it with you, but be sure to practice this on training runs. (Popular methods to BYO: hand-held bottle, belt with attached mini-bottles, Camelbak brand hydration back-pack.)
ALTERNATIVE/ADDITION TO SPORT DRINKS: ENERGY GELS + WATER
Energy Gels (variety of flavors) will often be offered at races They are thick, pudding-like packets (look like a ketchup packet) that you tear open and squeeze into your mouth while you’re running. (Typical flavors: chocolate, vanilla, or fruit-flavors. Sometimes they have caffeine) Practice using them before the race to see how your stomach handles the carbohydrate shot! Always take them with plain water!
Yes, you can drink coffee before you run! The American College of Sports Medicine said, “Caffeine ingestion has a modest diuretic effect in some individuals but does not affect water replacement in habitual caffeine users, so caffeinated beverages can be ingested during the day by athletes who are not caffeine naive.” However, they recommend avoiding caffeine immediately after exercise so that your fluid levels return to normal more quickly.