We are surrounded by it as we run the Spokane to Sandpoint course, and yet the lack of it in our bodies can spell trouble to the hardworking athlete. Water can be the difference between a good race and a bad one – the difference between heat exhaustion and just being hot. Do you know how to use water to your advantage during a relay?


Do you need to drink a ton of water in the days leading up to the relay? Probably not.  As long as your urine is normal, keep doing what you’re doing. You can’t cram in water; your body will just get rid of the excess. So spend your energy packing or studying your legs!
Everyone knows that hydration while running is important. While recent research suggests that drinking to thirst is enough to keep our bodies in balance, it is still important to make sure we have water available when our bodies ask for it. You should plan to carry water during the hottest legs (between noon and 5 pm), especially if your run is unsupported (legs #1, 4, 26, 36). If you are not going to carry water, have your team stop every mile to check on you. If you feel thirsty, drink. Your body will repay you by feeling better later.


Hydrating after the run is just as important as hydrating during the run. Let thirst be your guide, and keep a water bottle near. Be sure to keep extra water in your vehicle and stop to stock up when you start to run low.


Don’t force yourself to drink, though, especially if your stomach feels sloshy. It is possible to drink too much water and to cause problems with overhydration. Your body works hard to keep a balance between water and sodium, so if you’re taking in a lot of water, you’re washing a lot of sodium out, which can cause you to feel terrible. Correct too much water with some salty foods or electrolyte caps. Drink too little water, and you’ll also feel terrible. Correct that condition with more liquids. Some folks like to use electrolyte drinks like Nuun or GuBrew to get both the liquid and the electrolyte at the same time. Just pay attention to what you’re putting in to your body and how you feel, and try to correct problems before they become too severe.


Signs of dehydration:

Early signs:
Increased thirst; nausea; dry mouth; headache; reduced urine output, with dark yellow urine.

Moderate dehydration signs:
Extreme thirst; dry appearance inside the mouth; decreased urination, or lightheadedness.

Serious dehydration signs:
Cramps, chills and disorientation.

Drink more liquids and take in some electrolytes until you start urinating a more normal color.  If one of your teammates is experiencing serious dehydration, seek medical attention. We will have medical personnel on the course. You will receive contact information in your race packet pickup information. If you do not have cell phone service, contact the nearest race official for assistance.


Signs of overhydration:

Bloating, a feeling of fullness in your stomach, nausea, incoherence and disorientation.

Stop drinking, and take in some salt and potassium until you start to feel more “normal”.


Cooling Off

The dangers of heat exhaustion are real. Hot and humid days are especially tricky for cooling oneself. Use water to cool yourself, dumping it over your head and neck. Try to avoid getting your shoes wet as this can lead to blisters. Ice in your hat, sports bra or in a neck wrap is also a good way to beat the heat.


Finding a cold stream or river to dip your legs or feet into after you run is another good way to bring your core temperature down and help your legs recover. There are many great spots to stop along the way on the S2S course. Take advantage of the Spokane River to keep yourselves cool!


Our EartH2O Water Ambassadors will be on the course looking for runners who need to be cooled off or provided with aid as they run their legs. We encourage you to volunteer to take on this super fun, super important job! Let us know you are interested here: http://bit.ly/1asLg0S