Look. We're not just mere people. We're athletes. We don't "drink" "water." We take on fluids. We hydrate.
Our bodies are machines, and machines need fuel. Runners and walkers work hard, especially in the summer heat and when we do, sipping cool bevvies on the patio isn't going to cut it.
As half and full marathon training kicks off in the oppressive heat of summer, and as NoBo, Pathways and WalkFit groups prepare for Bedlam and the Q, we strongly urge you to consider your hydration needs. Carry a water bottle. Sample different flavors of Nuun and Skratch. These are flavored electrolyte blends that when added to water provide a little more sodium and carbs. If consuming one more glass of water fills you with despair, add some fresh fruit and herbs to it. Toss some rosemary and orange slices or peppermint and lime to a bottle of boring water can make you that much more likely to keep sipping when you feel you might float away. Many people like the taste of cold seltzer or club soda, too. There are lots of ways to add fluids without chugging bottle after bottle of nature's best.
By the time we feel thirst, we've already entered into a dehydrated state. A dehydrated athlete is a cramped up, miserable, sluggish, irritable beast. Don't be that guy. Just as we plan our workouts, we need to think about planning our fluids. If a long run is scheduled for Saturday morning, consider hydrating your cells on Friday, and try to abstain from alcohol. Make a plan for each week that includes protein, carbs and fluids structured around your training schedule. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; a simple reminder that our bodies can only do what we feed them do will often suffice. Try logging your liquid consumption for a day to see how you're doing. And if you require scientific data, check the color of your urine. A well-hydrated body rids itself of waste efficiently, so a well-hydrated body will have nearly clear urine.