Friday, May 24, 2013

Hydration 101 for Runners

Hotter weather is upon us, and with it comes an increased risk of dehydration.  Even being as little as 2% dehydrated will start to decrease performance, so it is critical that you get plenty of fluids.  Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which makes your heart beat faster and limits your ability to cool yourself down.  Keeping yourself hydrated requires a focused effort.  Try these tips to beat the heat and stay hydrated!

1. Pre-Hydrate: Don't wait until you are thirsty to hydrate - by then it is too late!  A good goal is to drink 8 to 16 ounces of water or sports drink 1-2 hours before a run.  If you start out slightly dehydrated, you are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Plan Ahead: Never leave home without your water bottle!  Always have something to drink with you... you would be surprised how much you will drink just out of habit or boredom by having it at your desk all day.  Even better, try to keep track of how much and how often you are drinking.  Consciously trying to drink a few ounces of water every 15-20 minutes is far more effective than simply pledging to drink "more" water.  You will be much more successful at staying hydrated and be able to better determine what amount, type, and timing works best for you.

3. Drink Mid-Workout: Try to have a few ounces of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes of exercise.  Don't let your body get totally depleted before you start to replace some of the liquids you are sweating out and using up during your workout.

4. Replenish: Rehydrate post-run!  You should be drinking enough water that you need to use the restroom within 60-90 minutes of finishing your workout.  Even if you don't feel that hot or thirsty, you need at least 8 ounces of water after your run, and possibly a lot more depending on your level of exertion, the heat and humidity, and a variety of other factors.

Basically, it's the little things you do (or don't do) every day that make or break your performance.  Make hydration a priority, and you will feel and perform better!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Display Your Race Swag!

If you're anything like us, you have a slew of race shirts, bibs, and medals that you have accumulated over the years.  You don't want to throw away your precious memories, but at this point they are really just cluttering your home in a pile in the corner of a closet somewhere.

If you are crafty at all (or willing to pay someone who is), you can easily display your medals and bibs in your home so you can remember all of your accomplishments!  Sites like have tons of people who will do everything from turn your old worn out race shirts into a beautiful quilt to creating hand painted wooden signs with hooks for your medals and bibs.  You can also find frames made specifically for race bibs, if you would like to display some of your favorites more prominently.

Here are some of the fun ideas we have seen.  Please share what you have done to display your race items if you have other great ideas for us!

So now you know!  Never throw away a memory... Happy racing!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Running in the Rain

It's that time of year again.  As many of you saw first hand last weekend at the Flying Pig Marathon, one day it is sunny and beautiful, and the next it is muggy and raining.  Rain doesn't have to sideline you or force you to the treadmill.  Learn how to safely and comfortably run outside in the rain!

Don't Overdress

The top mistake runners make when heading out for a rainy run is wearing too much clothing. Not only will this not keep you dry, but it might cause you to overheat or be weighed down by wet, heavy clothes.  Dress for the temperature just like you would if it were a dry day.
Usually the standard rule is to dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it really is because your body heats up.  Rain can keep you feeling colder a little longer so it's safest to dress in a couple of layers so you can adjust as you go if needed.  Even when layering, DO NOT OVERDRESS.  Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean it’s cold – there’s a huge difference in rainy, humid 70 degrees and rainy, windy 40 degrees. Start with a breathable base layer (long or short sleeved, depending on the temperature) that is thin but wicks moisture and dries quickly.  Then add a wind and waterproof jacket to keep you dry and comfortable.  Something made for running will still allow your skin to breathe and won't trap too much heat.
Avoid wearing anything baggy or with extra material as it’s just going to get wet and weigh you down.  Try to stick to body-hugging materials that aren’t going to weigh more than a toddler by the time you’re done.  IMPORTANT: Pack comfortable warm clothes for after, whether you are driving home or hanging out after a race.


Be Visible

Running in the rain often means poor visibility and decreased light.  Select an outer layer that's light-colored or has reflective properties to ensure that you are seen and safe.

Wear a Hat With a Brim

A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face, so you can see more clearly.  It will also keep your head a bit dryer and keep sweat and water from mixing too much and running in your eyes.

Use a Garbage Bag

If you have to wait outside in the rain before the start of a race, a big trash bag with armholes and a neck hole cut out can help you stay dry. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.


Prevent Chafing and Be Careful

When you are wet, chafing is more likely to occur.  Before your run, spread Body Glide or Vaseline on parts of your body where you would normally chafe or get blisters such as your feet, inner thighs, underarms, sports bra lines (women), or nipples (men).  Another thing to consider - Roads get slick slick when it’s wet.  You might be jumping over and stepping in puddles, so be extra careful and watch your footing.

Overall, running in the rain is just like running in any other weather.  Practice makes perfect.  Learn what gear works for you, and try to have fun!