Category Archives: Tips and Advice

I really learned to drink while I was pregnant!

Water… that is. 😉
If you’re anything like I used to be, chances are, you don’t drink the recommended amount of fluids per day.

The recommendation I’ve always heard is that the average person should be drinking 8 cups of water per day. Although, this article from the Mayo Clinic puts that number at around 13 cups for men and 9 for women.

In any case, growing up, I wasn’t too keen on water. If I wanted something to drink, I reached for some kool-aid or a glass of milk. I didn’t drink water unless I was really craving an ice-cold water– which would happen, consequently, after playing sports or a hard workout. Go figure.

 

When I was pregnant with Skip, I was encouraged to do better. I was reminded at every doctor’s appointment, especially the ones in Hawaii, to remember to drink at least eight glasses a day. At first, this was really hard. I felt a little like I was force-feeding myself. I would drink a glass of water almost every waking hour (at least when I could remember) and there were some hours when I felt like I was literally choking it down. I was drinking water like it was my job. I refilled my glass every time it was empty. I was using the bathroom every five minutes. (Although, that’s pretty typical for a pregnant lady.) I was so bloated during my pregnancy, and I really hoped drinking water would combat that, like most pregnancy books/articles suggested it would.

{It didn’t.}

This was a new concept for me: drinking water for my health, not because I was thirsty. It was a mind-shift issue for me. TMI alert: I’ve always had a very tiny bladder. {Ask my husband how many times we used to pull off to use a restroom on our trips up to Minnesota.} To avoid this problem, I figured I just shouldn’t drink unless I was thirsty. This didn’t really solve my problem, and additionally, it also trained me to only drink when I felt thirsty. This inevitably leads to being under-hydrated– not drinking enough fluids.

 

To illustrate the point: Jonah and I went to Disney World over Spring Break one year. We did all of Disney World in two days– which meant we did about three parks per day. On our first day, we had gone to MGM, the Magic Kingdom, and then went to Downtown Disney for dinner. I don’t think I had had even one drink that day except for maybe half of an iced tea at lunch or something, and gradually came on the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t eat my dinner and I made Jonah pay like $40 or something for a cab back to the hotel rather than take all of the free shuttle services available to us, which would take about an hour longer. It was that bad.

Another time, in Turks and Caicos, I had a bit of a sunstroke. I went light-headed all of a sudden and felt like I went blind for about five minutes. My eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything. I sat in the shade and sipped on water and my vision came back… it was terrifying.

 

So, yes, I learned the importance of hydration the hard way, and as such, I’ve tried to be better about staying hydrated in the heat.

 

Jonah chugs water all the time, so he was an obvious choice for Water Coach, and I asked him to remind me as often as possible to be drinking water during my pregnancy.

Learning to drink water was like rewiring my brain by forcing myself to drink water when I didn’t *feel* thirsty. I’m grateful that this started during my pregnancy, though, because it was better to jump start this habit prior to beginning my running career than to attempt to do so alongside learning how to run.

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Water and Running

Another valuable thing my husband taught me about running was not only the importance of having plenty of water for an active lifestyle, but how to drink before a run.

His advice, which I have followed ever since, was to be sure I was hydrating the entire day before a run (mind you, I used to run in the evenings) and to hydrate really well the night before a race. Just before running, don’t chug water! Sip it. I’ve never felt under-hydrated on a run. Of course, I’ve felt thirsty during and after, but I’ve never felt like I might pass out or anything. I’m glad to say that my running habit helps with my water habit– it gives me a reason to drink water. Because I’m still rewiring my brain.

Future.

I plan to work up to running longer distances, so I’m beginning to research how to bring water with me on a run. I’m not a fan of having anything in my hands during a run. Holding a water bottle isn’t “cute” and it’s annoying.

 

I haven’t quite perfected drinking the water that they give you halfway through a race. I don’t want to stop and walk, but when I try to drink while running, it ends up all over my shirt. A running friend showed me how to fold the cup so this doesn’t happen, but when I tried it, I still got water on my shirt. {And this was during a Fall run, which made me cold.} So this is something I need to work on.

 

Suggestions are welcome! How do you drink during a run? Where do you keep your water? Camelbak? Around your waist? (I will likely do one of those things because, like I mentioned earlier, I hate holding something in my hands while running.) How far do you have to be running before you start bringing water with?

 

Until next time, happy drinking!


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Additional Info about Running & Hydrating

 

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Breathing.

I don’t know how to breathe. My husband, Jonah, thinks I’m absolutely crazy when I say this, but it’s true.

Whenever I do a workout class or video, most of the time when they are  telling me to breathe out, I’m breathing in…. or holding my breath.  (Which is a big no-no, by the way.)
I had a really hard time with lamaze… because it’s all about controlling your breathing. Breathing feels like something too natural to control, and when I start to think about controlling it, I feel like I’m suffocating. It’s as if I’m scared that if I try to control my brain, it will stop working like my brain should, and I’ll stop knowing how to breathe… and then, I’ll die.
That was a little overdramatic, but that’s totally what it’s like.

To further illustrate how crazy I am about this: I am primarily a nose-breather, and my husband thinks it is hilarious to plug my nose and watch me freak out, screaming, “I can’t breathe!” He laughs at me and says, “yes, you can! I’m not covering your mouth!” For the explanation I gave above, it doesn’t feel that way. I start to breathe in and out of my mouth and it doesn’t feel like I’m getting any air.

Yeah, I have issues.

Yoga has sort of helped with this. I looooooove yoga. I have horrible balance and I’m not especially flexible, but yoga really helps with that. I wish I did yoga more often.
When I *did* do yoga more often, I had to figure out how to breathe through stretches, and I did surprisingly well with it. I’d still find that I’d be breathing out as they were telling me to breathe in, but at least I was breathing and not holding my breath. I think this set me up pretty well for learning how to breathe while running.

This is perhaps the most helpful thing I’ve learned with learning to run: how to breathe properly. I can thank my dear husband for this- he accompanied me on my very first run and taught me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth.

In my earlier attempts at learning to run, I never focused on my breathing and my throat would be sore because I’d find that I completely breathed through my mouth. I wouldn’t be breathing deep, and I was elevating my heart rate so much, that I’d become a mouth-breather and as a result, my throat would get raw and I’d get tired a lot faster.
I had no idea correct breathing would fix that!

Jonah noticed when I wasn’t doing it right, too. On that first run, he constantly told me, “in through your nose, out through your mouth.” He also taught me that when I felt that pain in my sides, to walk, elevate my arms, and breathe deep– again, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
In those first few weeks of running, this is what I focused on, and it made the process of learning to run a lot easier. It gave me something to focus on, rather than how tired I was, and this really surprised me. I didn’t feel like I was suffocating. I felt like I was breathing.

{It probably helped that I was in Hawaii, and I just feel like I can breathe better, and more deeply, there in general.}

All that to say: breathing is important. And in case anyone hasn’t already told you: IN through your nose, OUT through your mouth.

Here are some other articles and tips I’ve found about breathing while running:

 

Breathe on, friends.

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