It’s getting hot! Actually, if you are on the east coast of the US, or anywhere north of Oklahoma for that matter, it’s probably still pretty dang cold. Not to rub it in anyone’s face, but Texas and most of the Southwest has been feeling pretty warm over the last few weeks and the rising temperatures means an increase in the chance for dehydration. Even if you are still living in a Winter wonderland, dehydration and loss of electrolytes are huge problems that can hinder even the most experienced athlete. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, the running scene is pushing a very odd post-run drink to help runners stay hydrated and to replace lost electrolytes: chocolate milk.
While I will admit that it has been many, many years since I have had a glass of cow’s milk, I find the cartons and bottles being pushed on weary runners at the end of a race disturbing and disgusting. This trend seems to have risen seemingly from nowhere over the last 5 years, which to me reeks of funding from a struggling dairy industry. Unfortunately for runners, this means that many people are unknowingly filling their bodies with exactly what they DONT need after a trying race: refined sugar, cholesterol, hormones, animal fat, pesticides, antibiotics, stomach-turning lactose and a poor source of calcium (yes, milk actually leeches calcium from your bones rather than acting as a supplement.)
And that’s not even touching on the environmental and ethical reasons for avoiding milk.
I have found that numerous beverages and foods can easily, healthfully and compassionately replenish what you loose during a run. Water (obviously) is the best thing to drink for hydration and a handful of dates can give you a sugar boost to help replenish electrolytes (which is really just a fancy word for sugars and salts in the body.)
However, my favorite post workout drink is coconut water. It is mostly water, which is perfect for hydration, contains more potassium than a banana (goodbye, running cramps) and is loaded with naturally-occurring electrolytes. This stuff is so full of good-for-you nutrients that it has even been used as IV fluid for severely dehydrated and weak patients in Asia. Not to mention that it’s subtle coconut flavor is delicious! While once only available in specialty grocery stores and Asian markets, coconut water is widely available at almost every grocery or convenience store in the country.
So as the weather warms up, remember to treat your body well after a long run and be sure to replenish what you have lost. Not all post-workout drinks are created equal, so ditch the dairy and grab a bottle of coconut water instead.
And don’t worry Chicago, you will thaw out soon.
Get hydrated! Here is your seventh week of recommended workouts:
Monday: 10 minute warm up, 40 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 4 x (1 mile at fast pace, 1/2 mile at easy pace), 1 mile cool down
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 50 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Thursday: 10 minute warm up, 65 minute easy run, 5 minute cool down
Saturday: 1 mile warm up, 16 miles easy run, 1 mile cool down
Sunday: Cross train 30-60 minutes
Keep up with your weekly marathon training and find running tips every Monday on Peaceful Dumpling!
Photo: aerial_m via Flickr; Claire Harris