After months of following a gruelling marathon training schedule and fitness routine, we all want to make sure we're on top form on race day.
A surprising amount of runners get caught short by dehydration while running a marathon, so we pulled together some of the best tips for keeping your water levels just right during your race.
The first tip? Don't just drink tons and tons of H20, as this can actually be counterproductive. For the reasons why, and the rest of the tips, read on...
This is very important, as it can reduce the need to drink while your are running the race itself and it gives you a reservoir of fluids and electrolytes to draw upon when you start sweating.
But starting well hydrated definitely does not mean you should drink loads of water before your marathon.
Over-drinking can actually cause you to start with your blood electrolyte levels diluted and with a lot of fluid sloshing around in your stomach and bladder. All of which are unlikely to help you race well!
Our bodies are generally very good at telling us when we need to drink, so you should largely drink to thirst while you run your marathon.
As a general rule of thumb, you might expect to be drinking between 500 and 750 ml per hour during a race like London, maybe up to 1l per hour if it's hotter than usual (as unlikely as that seems!).
At least some of the fluids you take in should contain electrolytes (especially sodium, which helps you maintain your blood plasma volume which helps reduce cardiovascular strain and fatigue). As you're unlikely to be carrying your own drinks at the London Marathon, blister-packed electrolyte capsules like these are a great option for staying on top of your sweat losses.
Most marathons have regular aid stations on the course, enabling you to run without carrying your own drinks. In major marathons these tend to be at least every 3 miles (5km), sometimes more frequently in very hot conditions. These stations tend to offer both sports drinks and water.
Here’s how to nail drinking water while you run:
You should be able to top up on the fluids and electrolytes lost in your sweat while running through the food and drink you normally eat in the hours after the race.
If you struggle with cramp, you think you're a particularly salty sweater, or you feel especially dehydrated after you finish, some more deliberate fluid intake and sodium supplementation might be necessary. Here’s some advice on how to speed up your recovery by rehydrating more effectively.
We hope this tips help you improve your race. Don't let that marathon training go to waste! And of course, good luck for your marathon.
If you would like to learn more about the Precision Hydration products and get more advice on training and racing hydration then click here