Running: Water is key

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - This has certainly been one of the hottest summers anyone can remember. The weather has been downright miserable, record high temperatures without a break from the 90's since early in the spring and heat advisories for months. In spite of those unbearable temperatures, you must have seen tons of runners training for the Rock N' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. This weather has definitely forced Fleet Feet Sports to alter its official training program schedule.

We have all made a tremendous sacrifice to keep up with the program. We get up extremely early and run in the dark long before the sun comes up to beat the heat, but many times, there is no choice and runners have to run in the midday heat or late in the evenings. The sun is scorching overhead during the day and in the evening, it is sometimes just as hot and humid.  Trainers told us and we quickly learned that water is key not just on the day you run, but we need to start drinking more water a couple of days before the long runs. Trainers advise sipping on water throughout the day that way we are hydrated by the time we start running. On the day of you run, you'll need more than just water, especially once you begin running more than 5 miles at one time. "Drinking is very important not just water. You need to also drink some kind of supplement that makes you feel good like Cytomax, Endurox, Nuun or any type of supplement that replaces electrolytes," explains Robert Espinoza, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Savannah.

It is just as important to keep water with you during your runs. Some runners carry their sports drinks or water in bottles, while others wear belts called fuel belts that hold a few bottles of water. "Some also put some water down on the ground at every mile. During group training, Fleet Feet has water stops so everyone can get water or sports drinks to avoid becoming dehydrated. Don't just drink the water. It is very important as you take one drink, you should also pour one drink down the back of your neck or on top of your head or shoulders. Initially, it can be shocking, but that will help lower your core temperature," adds Espinoza.

Boy, is it shocking. I started following Espinoza's advice about a month ago and I can say it is everything he says it is. At first your shoulders will rise quickly up to your ears, it does stun you, but you will immediately feel cooler. It is most important to remember that you cannot take any shortcuts when it comes to hydration. It can be dangerous to drink too much water at one time. "The problem when you drink too much water is you can get water intoxication. Sodium gets built up in the blood and it creates a big problem and it can become quite dangerous time," warns Espinoza.

If you do not get all of your water in and you wake up feeling dehydrated, Espinoza advises skipping that long run on that day. There is always tomorrow.

If you are still seriously considering running in the inaugural Rock N' Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon and you have not registered yet, you need to do right now! There are less than 200 spaces left. Organizers will close registration at 23,000 participants.

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