Water Actually Works. Fancy That.

Contributed by Jenna Stranzl, RD, CISSN (http://jennastranzl.com/)

What I am about to say may rock your world. I admit, I am a dietitian that does not like water. And I know – I will die of dehydration if I do not drink it. If I dropped us all off on a deserted island and there was no food or drink (while there is a VERY obvious pool of ocean in front of us, it is off limits – for sake of my explanation), we would die in ~48 hours. That is unfortunate.

So, I preach hydration. All. Of. The. Time. Endlessly. The most important thing to tell athletes, non-athletes, everyone! Thing is, I do not practice what I preach.

Right now I am currently training for another marathon (Atlantic City) where I will take my feet on another 26.2 mile journey. If you do not think that is a lot, get in your car and drive 26.2 miles. You may piss yourself when you realize how far on foot that is for a human.

I noticed that I felt much like the Tin Man – rusty, stale, tired. And I know: FATIGUE IS THE FIRST SIGN OF DEHYDRATION. Hello! It is something I say every day of my life. But, this coffee drinker would always ignore it. Until another runner and RD said, “Why don’t you drink water?” Hmmm. Ok. Let’s start the journey.

What I thought was sufficient amounts of water, was not. My pee color seemed okay most times, and if it wasn’t, eh, maybe my fruits and veggies would help make up for it because they are water-based. But, rather I finally made it a point to consume ~2 cups of water before running and after and continued throughout the course of the day.

I realized quickly, I really have to pee. A lot. And, I do not really like water by itself. So, I had to improvise. Through trial and error, I found a solution: frozen blueberries and a squirt of lemon juice with water. The blueberries were my ice cubes. I also used a “fun” cup with a straw. Before I knew it, drinking water was… fun.

And my runs were improving. The post-run headaches after runs under the hot summer sun have diminished. I felt less fatigue. I also felt less apt to use COFFEE as my source of energy when I still felt that sluggish pre-run feeling. I am admitting a lot here – I dislike water and I drink coffee before runs. But, I do stand by research and find there is nothing wrong with coffee – within limits and moderation.

                                              Happy body & happy runner

Just a simple straw has gone a long way. I now drink plain water and my Powerade Zero in this fun cup/straw combo. I like feel lost without hydrating properly. I have crossed over. Turned a new leaf. I finally practice what I preach.

After all these years of running and not recognizing the obvious, I wish I did it sooner. I guess what I am also trying to say is also what I tell my clients – similar to how you approach a toddler with a picky eater issue. You have to try several times to finally know whether or not this may or may not work for you. I would drink water and lose interest quickly – but, I invested in making it work and now I love what it does for me.

So, next time you are hesitant to try something new or something simple that you assume will not work for you – give it a shot anyways. It could make a world of a difference. I am living proof.

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