Hydration has been a huge issue for me this winter. Thankfully, spring is here in Upstate NY and the winter weather is making a return. I want to discuss hydration during races.
I use to always think it was the responsibility of the race organization to be sure there was enough hydration along a race course. My first race was a December evening 5K and the one water stop was more than enough for me. Then, approximately five months later, I ran a 10 miler. To start with, this particular 10 miler is appropriately called the Mountain Goat due to the hills it goes up and then down. Next, it is run the first weekend in May in Syracuse, NY. There could realistically be snow still on the ground but the year I ran this race there was not a trace of snow in place. The reason is that it was HOT that day. By the time I crossed the finish line the temperature was 85F. A few of the water stops ran out of water. One ran out of cups. That was the last race I ran without my security blanket of a water bottle.
Lately, I have been looking at whether I need my water bottle or not during races again. I have to figure out what is best for me for hydration during a race. Many factors go into the answer. How warm is it going to be during the race? Will there be sunlight? Direct or indirect? How many water stops are there along the course?
Let me give you an example. I recently ran a local 15K race. The race, as 15Ks go, is a tough course with a killer hill at 8 miles. The local club that sponsors the race set up four water stops during the race. I did take the early start for the race and all water stops were up and functioning, even for the early start – which was 15 minutes. I figured I was okay with not running with a water bottle. I do think I may have cut another minute, possibly two, off my time if I had had water with me. I like running without something in my hands. The problem here was that it got hot. It was not sweltering by any means. When I left my house for the 1:45 pm start, it was 47F at my house. When I ran past the time/temperature sign during the first mile of the race, it was 61F. I was not appropriately hydrated prior to the race and the water stops, while adequate for the length of the race, were not enough for me personally.
Now I am off to look for differing ways to carry hydration during my two upcoming marathons. Any ideas?