Marathon Training Week 9 - Putting DIY Hydration Solution To The Test
September 23, 2016
My homemade hydration mix got its first intense field test this past weekend due to me forgetting that I was out of Gatorade powder and not wanting to buy it anywhere but Costco (it's a much better deal, ok?).
Fortunately, my prep paid off: my 17 mile run went great and I felt like my concoction kept my hydration at a good level. I stopped for a top off at a water fountain that is beautifully located about halfway down my long-run-route, but hell, in this humidity I probably can't and shouldn't be carrying the amount of water I need to take in.
There are several places online with similar mixtures, but if you're curious about trying out a homemade hydration solution, here's the mix that I've had success with so far:
- ~2oz lemon juice or ~4oz orange juice
- ~1/4 tsp salt
- 18-20 oz water
- 1.5-2.5 tsp sugar
All of that is subject to taste preference and I often don't add sugar except for when I'm making it for before or during a big run. I did make a comparison and this is roughly the same amount of sodium that is in a comparable amount of gatorade (about 450mg, I think). The next additions I'm looking into are some other nutrients/electrolytes that might be beneficial to get in there somehow.
I won't lie, the thought of salty lemon water is gross. I get that. It also doesn't always taste great, but it's serving a more utilitarian purpose of helping to rehydrate without necessarily heaping sugar into your body. I also won't pretend that I'm someone who avoids a lot of sugar, but when you start running the numbers of how much you intake when only using sports drinks for hydration/re-hydration, it can add up. Plus, I've gotten more and more used to the salty juice taste. Whether that's good or bad, I can't really say. What IS good is that even when I'm adding sugar and other stuff in, I'm controlling the amounts relative to what my body might need rather than just what comes in a packaged product.
My experiments were initially informed by some of Alton Brown's coffee insights. Specifically his assertion that salt is a better way to cut the bitterness of coffee than sugar. I figured that lemons were bitter so maybe lemon juice would make a good delivery method for adding salt into my drinks. I mean, it also works with tequila and limes, so the research checks out.
If you try this mix or a variant of it - or if you have another recipe you like, I'd love to hear about it! This gives me something to tinker with so hearing different feedback and ideas is a fun way to shift things around.
I will say, while this worked for me on a long run (my longest yet!), I had been experimenting with and drinking a mostly similar mix for a couple weeks beforehand so I definitely advocate treating this as any other part of a running routine and not introducing it to long or important runs straight away. But you already know that.