Like many of you, I know how important good hydration is for the body to function properly – whether it’s aiding the digestive system, flushing out toxins, keeping joints and muscles lubricated or just keeping us looking healthier. As a runner, the importance of hydration is amplified as lack thereof can cause serious problems to performance and enjoyment of the sport. I have admitted in previous posts that often when I experience sluggish runs, it’s because I’m poorly hydrated. Admittedly, I still have a love-hate relationship with water, and good days are often interspersed with bad ones. But I have found a formula that works for me and as I start the 10×10 Challenge, I want to adhere to it even more closely to ensure an optimal running experience. If you also struggle to drink enough water, these tips may help you too!
How To Drink More Water
Establish Why You Are Not Drinking Enough. I can sit at my desk for hours without a second’s thought of keeping myself hydrated. Of course, this ultimately catches up with me, leaving me feeling unwell (usually a headache or nausea if it’s really bad). My husband’s first question is always: “Have you had any water today?” to which my response is usually a sheepish no. I know there are people who just don’t like the taste of water. I actually don’t mind the taste of water, but I find the drinking of it somewhat inconvenient. This situation is made worse by the fact I rarely feel the urge to drink. So, given this, I have learnt that I need to make water-drinking less inconvenient. What are some of the reasons you don’t drink enough water?
Fill Your Bottle(s) The Night Before. To make it easier for me to drink water, I fill up three bottles the night before (1L and two 500ml bottles). I’m very happy with room temperature water so I put one 500ml bottle by my bedside or the door (if I’m running the following morning) and the remaining two bottles (1.5L) on my desk (if I’m working from home). This means when I set about my duties/ tasks the following day, water is always close at hand. If you prefer cold water, you can put your bottles in the fridge overnight or if you prefer a pitcher make sure it’s close by (together with a glass). The idea is to make it difficult for you to not drink water as it’s always there. Just having the bottle there, serves as a visual reminder to drink more water.
Carry Your Bottle Everywhere. This nifty trick comes from my sister who takes a water bottle wherever she goes, whether it’s to the office or meetings, or even to events and restaurants, if allowed. Having it with her at all times ensures that she actually finishes it and doesn’t have a reason not to. When you have a reusable water bottle, you can easily drink water in any setting, whether you’re running errands, traveling, at the office or attending events.
Get An Accountability Partner. This is my answer to everything! When my friend Elisa mentioned on my summer running post that she needed to hydrate more, I knew she would make a great accountability partner. For 21 days, we challenged each other to drink 2L of water every day by 6pm. I found Day 1 quite easy – I think I was just motivated as it was the first day of the challenge. But as the days wore on, I found myself fearful that if I didn’t drink more, I’d have to report to Elisa! That would usually ensure a few speedy gulps! Like most challenges, when you’re on your own it’s sometimes hard to get things done, and if you know this about yourself, then look for an accountability partner who can spur you on as needed.
Jazz It Up! When you find the taste of water boring, it’s easy to find yourself drinking very sugary drinks such as juices and sodas or using mix-in powders. Unfortunately, these are often very unhealthy. Instead, some people use some fresh fruits, like slices of lemon, apples, various berries, or even herbs to infuse some natural flavour into their water. Some people also find it quite comforting to start the day with hot water and lemon. So, if you’re looking to jazz things up, just search for recipes for infusing water with fresh ingredients.
Track It. I’ve used an app before (MyFitnessPal) for tracking my water intake. Admittedly, because the above elements were missing this did not really work for me. But I still think it’s a good way to keep on track especially if you don’t use the bottle method I shared above. If you’re not into apps, you can use the good old fashioned sticker method or pen and paper to mark how much you’re drinking or cross of bottles in your diary/ calendar, whatever works for you!
I hope this helps you to stay hydrated! Have you used any of these methods before? What other tips and tricks do you have for keeping hydrated?