Wednesday, June 9, 2010

8 Are You Drinking Enough Water Throughout The Day? -- Some Helpful Tips For Keeping Track Of Your Daily Fluid Intake


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As most people surely know, hydration is important, and it can sometimes be tricky to achieve the proper balance -- to drink the right amount of water -- for both fitness and daily living.

It's really important to hydrate all throughout the day, and not just before a workout. The body needs time to properly absorb and process water in order for one's water consumption to be truly useful & effective for workouts.

So, how can you tell if you're hydrating properly? For the answer to that question & more, please see the article I wrote last summer entitled, "Summer Running Tips: The Whys & Hows of Hydration, & A Review of Various Hydration Systems." You'll find a boatload of useful information, advice, & resources there.

Additionally, most endurance athletes have come to realize -- usually from the lessons of past experience! -- what too much or too little water can do to them, both during their training & in their everyday life. With proper hydration (& fueling!), timing is everything. Not enough water, & we often don't feel very well & tend to "run out of steam" during our workouts. A bit too much water before or during a workout, and well, we all know what happens there. :) It's especially important to know your sweat rate during long distance runs or long cycling trips without facilities along the trail route. ;)

Also, in the extreme, there are serious consequences to drinking too much (water intoxication & its most common resultant condition, hyponatremia) or too little water (dehydration).

So, how can you keep track of your water intake? And what's the easiest way to do this? Well, I have a few solutions for you. First, I'll tell you what I use, and you can see if that'd work for you.... Then, I'll also list some additional tools & resources.

For one, you can use a physical tool for water tracking: Erik got us these brilliant little fluid intake trackers a while ago, called F.I.T. for short, & I've found them to be really useful for tracking daily water consumption. I like to use the clip on a refillable water bottle that I carry around with me all day. :)

If you'd like to spend a bit more money, you can get a high tech version of this concept, in which the tracker is actually built into the bottle unit itself (Pretty cool, eh?!), called the Sportsline HydraCoach. Here's a product review, if you'd like to read more about it.

You can also track your daily water intake at various online fitness and nutrition logs. (There are also various software applications on the market to do this, but I prefer using an online method because it can be accessed on the go for immediate recording, which helps to ensure that I do it!) Or, if you want to go the "old school" route, you can track your intake via a spreadsheet application like Excel or Google Docs (which is handy, again, because it's in an online format) or one of those printable daily fluid intake logs.

Here are some articles & other resources you might find helpful in your quest to properly hydrate:
How to Drink More Water Every Day (From wikiHow; tips for increasing your daily water consumption)
How to Calculate your Body's Fluid Needs (From eHow; quick overview of basic calculation)
Tri to Drink! (PDF) (TriSmarter's detailed sports-medicine article on fluid intake calculation)
Recommended Daily Water Intake (From MyFoodDiary.com)
Hazards of Hydration: Choose Your Plastic Water Bottles Carefully (From Balanced Living)

Hope you found the above tips & suggestions to be useful!

Happy Hydrating ;),
-C

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2 The Chili Challenge - No, It's Not A Cook-off, It's a Triathlon :)


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I won't reiterate what I already shared on @DailyMile, but it looks like my plans have changed course yet again. Due to some earlier ankle problems while doing my running & walking intervals with Lily, my parents' cute but rather feisty 55 lb. bulldog -- who doesn't exactly walk or run in a straight line & gives zero warning when she's about to bolt after any & all moving objects :) --  I'd decided to cycle for the time being until the situation has improved.

The problem really wasn't my running sneakers -- they are practically new with little mileage on them; plus I've been using the same brand/model for years without incident. And believe me, I've had enough gait analyses done to know I'm in the right pair of shoes. :) Rather, it was the effect of trying to simultaneously run while reigning in a bully beastie whose density & center of gravity have given her the clear steering advantage. ;) Now I'm pretty strong, granted, but all the same, I'm not in the same condition I was several months ago; and, while I could keep her from running in the wrong direction, my lack of fitness clearly contributed to the ankle situation as well. I'd previously run & walked with Lily before without any issues, so I think that a little bit of time (and a lot of exercise) is bound to rectify that situation. :)

Anyhow, after returning home from my trip, a few occurrences and activities got me thinking about a new idea. First of all, my dad gave me his former hybrid bike, which is practically brand new and hadn't been used much, so that gave me a way to keep exercising & also properly align & strengthen the ankles without putting any direct weight on them.

Yesterday, Erik just took my bike into the shop to buy a tube for the front tire. (Right before I was leaving to come home, my dad & I discovered that it'd had a tiny puncture in it after we'd pumped both tires with air. Cyclists know the drill: You pump the tire with air and then, a day later, the air not-so-mysteriously goes of the tire. ;) )

Second, we'd just recently gone on a kayaking trip and had had conversations with our river guides about triathlons with kayaking legs. :) I was the one who brought up the subject, and thankfully one of the guides just happened to be a triathlete, and gladly engaged me on the topic. He mentioned a few local area triathlons that incorporated kayaking, and then of course my interest was piqued....

And third, my dad is doing his first full triathlon this year. Last year, I'd asked him to join me for the Lewisburg Triathlon, as some of you might recall from earlier posts. We did that event as a relay team -- he did the biking, I did the running, & a third person did the swimming. It was lots of fun! And so, about six months ago or more, my dad started training for this year's event.

Looks like I got him hooked on triathlons. ;)

I was previously supposed to be his "backup" runner, just in case, (he's really not supposed to be running because of his knee situation), but now I think he's going to go ahead and do the whole thing. Thankfully, the running leg is only a 5K distance & thus far (fingers crossed!) his knees seem to be holding up OK. I'm hoping that all the training he's been doing for the various events in conjunction with each other -- particularly the biking & the swimming! -- will have helped to strengthen his knees in preparation for his tri. I think he's also been incorporating some weight lifting, so that ought to help as well.

It's been really inspiring to watch his training progress. He's really enjoying training for it quite a lot, and, as of late, has racked up an impressive number of successive PRs. He keeps getting faster by leaps and bounds. And most of all, he's been very surprised by the progress he's been making in the swimming portion of his training, which he didn't think would be his forte. As it turns out, he's actually a pretty decent swimmer. :) It's certainly nice to be pleasantly surprised like that. We really don't know what we can do until we do it, and sometimes it takes a bit of perseverance before we have our breakthrough moments. :)

He's told me that he's ready to do the event now, even though the event's not until late August, which is a good sign. Of course, I'll be visiting to cheer him on during his tri, along with my mother. We're both really proud of him for doing this. It just goes to show, it's never too late to "tri." :-D

So, considering all of the above & the title of this post, I think you can see where all of these ideas are leading -- As I mentioned earlier on Twitter & Facebook, I'm toying with the idea of doing my first full kayak-bike-run triathlon. :)

So, the new plan is to train accordingly. The tri I want to do, The Chili Challenge, is in October, and is a very manageable distance, so that should give me plenty of time to prepare.  (And hey, look, the event even has a penguin logo, so it must be fate. :) ) Also, I frankly need an event to train for right now to give me some extra focus and motivation to get back into the swing of things, until exercise becomes the same reflexive activity that it once was for me several months ago. Of course, it's really important to put the focus on how I am now as opposed to devoting too much time contemplating "then." The "then" of things is only helpful as it pertains to the fond memories I have of running in favorite places and the lessons I've learned while running there. :)

The good news is that the ankle situation has thankfully improved, and while I've not tested it yet with a run, it no longer hurts to walk. :) This means that I can now devote myself to all parts of the triathlon training. Yay!

So, first I'm going to cycle until my rear end is no longer sore. :) Hopefully, the ramping up stage to "zero posterior soreness" will only take a week or two. And now that the ankle appears to be OK, the cycling might have to be alternated with a bit of running, to let the soreness subside. Even with padded bike shorts and a comfort seat, I'm still anticipating some soreness. What can I say, past experience is a great predictor there. ;)

And since the tri I'd like to do has a kayaking leg, of course I'm also going to be training for that event as well. Thankfully, we have several bodies of water from which to choose -- lakes, rivers, etc. -- so it'll just be a matter of renting kayaks while I'm there. There are several places which rent kayaks inexpensively, and many are located right on the water, so that part will be fairly straightforward. Plus, I've asked Erik to train with me, for extra fun & motivational reinforcement; he's currently doing a separate training program (he's up to about 25 mpw in his Nike+ half marathon training program), but has agreed to join me on a few kayaking trips. :) On that note, if any friends would like to go kayaking with me on the weekends, please let me know! :-D

I'm really excited about the event. A friend and I are both considering doing it together. On that note, any friends who'd like to join in on the fun are welcome to do so. Just drop me a line or an email to let me know you'll be joining us.....It'd certainly be great to have the company & the camaraderie. :) The more the merrier.

Even if you don't race at the same pace, it's no matter, because it'll just be fun to be there together & bond at the event. Plus, after the race, we'll all be meeting up at the finish line & then going out to celebrate at someplace fun. :) I'll probably send out a Facebook event invitation after the details have been firmed up a bit.

As far as tri training programs go, I haven't yet decided upon exactly which program I'll be doing. There are some tri training programs listed under the "Running Resources" tab of this blog, but of course most of those are for swim-bike-run triathlons and not paddle-bike-swim. :) If anyone knows of a good training program that incorporates paddling, please let me know. Otherwise, I'll just keep searching for one, or take an existing program, & modify it for paddling.

Also, I'm wondering if there are any group training programs in the local DC area for these type of triathlons. Hmmmm. Got to research that as well. It'd be nice to have the motivation, structure, & support of a group setting, especially in my current state. :)

Anyhow, that's the latest. Stayed tuned for more triathlon training updates. :)

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