February 4, 2013
Tip #5 Consume Enough Water!
How much water to have each day is often talked about and very, very confusing. Let me try to set the record straight.
Water is obviously very important not just to athletes, but to everyday human life. It’s used in every chemical reaction in your body, regulates your cooling system and is important in your digestive system. Most importantly, you lose a lot of water when you run, so you need to replace it.
One rumour was that you need to drink 2 litres (8 cups) of water each day. You may have also heard that you need to consume only 2 litres of any fluid, including fluids from fruits and soups.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women consume about 2.2 litres (9 cups) of fluids per day, and men consume about 3 litres (13 cups). It doesn’t have to be pure water! There some caveats to this advice. If you’re sick or sweating a lot either from exercise or just humidity, you’ll need more water. Also, you may need more water to offset toxins like coffee and alcohol.
No one expects you to measure the volume of fluid you get from an apple or a bowl of soup. Your best bet for seeing of you’re getting enough fluid is to check your urine. Other than your first trip to the bathroom each day, your urine should be very pale. If it looks like coffee you have a problem.
One more important note is that it is possible to drink too much water. There was a woman in the US that drank too much water for a radio contest and died. It’s a very rare condition called hyponatremia where you consume so much water that it dilutes your electrolytes so much that your body stops functioning properly. Other than stupid contests, the only other people that should be worried about it are marathoners.
In the case of a race, you can wind up drinking too much water. I recommend you drink a sports drink like Gatorade during races. Your gels will have some salts in them too. If you’re really concerned about your salt levels, you can use a salt supplement like Nuun.