The Steamboat Marathon creates its own unique set of circumstances when talking about hydration. The high altitude finish line in downtown Steamboat Springs and the 8,128 ft start at Hahn’s Peak requires runners to really pay attention to their hydration needs.
These quick tips will help you through the day successfully!
1. Stay hydrated: Unlike big city marathons, the Steamboat Marathon does not have an aid station at every mile. This requires a well-practiced hydration schedule in training that should include the runner carrying a handheld bottle or running hydration pack. The high altitude sun and cold can sap your body of extra fluids so replenishing is important. Think about drinking 3-6 oz. of water every 20 minutes in a race and remember that 1 large sip is about 1 oz.
2. Know your sweat rate: A great way to test this is to weigh yourself before and after a training run of one hour with no water ingested during the run. Plan on drinking 16 oz of water for every pound lost and depending on conditions this might equate to a good plan during the race, 16 oz per hour.
3. When taking gels and other energy treats on course be sure to drink water after consumption as to reduce risk of gastrointestinal upset.
4. If the day is hot, make sure to ingest electrolytes in the form of a sports drink or even electrolyte tablet when running an endurance length race. Salt and electrolyte tabs such as Hammer endurolytes, Salt Stick and S-Caps typically have anywhere from 40-250mg of sodium per capsule. Replacing electrolytes is also important if you are drinking very large quantities of water to avoid hyponatremia.
5. Check the color of your urine. It should be light yellow colored, the darker, the more dehydrated you are and even a 1% change in body weight due to dehydration can negatively affect your performance.
6. Finally give your bladder a break by consuming 16 - 24 ounces of water at least 1 hour prior to the race to ensure enough time for a bathroom stop pre-race.
7. Enjoy yourself!