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January 27th, 2017 TRAINING

A Pre-Marathon Lesson: Mastering Hydration Techniques

A Pre-Marathon Lesson: Mastering Hydration Techniques

With a marathon in view, even those of us who enjoy jogging at a regular basis suddenly get a lot of questions. One of them is hydration. Today, the members of Shiseido Running Club, Risa Takenaka and Yukiko Okuno, share effective hydration techniques that will support your running and bring you to a beautiful finish.

Risa Takenaka

Risa Takenaka, Shiseido Running Club Captain
Born in Shiga prefecture in 1990. Graduated from Ritsumeikan University. A top-level runner in Japan since her student days, focusing mostly on 5,000-meter distance. Entered Shiseido in 2012. In her first marathon race, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon (March 2015), Takenaka placed 4th (3rd among Japanese), winning the Rookie Prize. Finished 3rd in Osaka Women’s Marathon held in January 2016. One of the top Japanese runners, aiming at world-level marathon races.

Yukiko Okuno

Yukiko Okuno, Shiseido Running Club member
Born in Kyoto prefecture in 1992. Graduated from Kyoto Sangyo University. Took the bronze medal at the 2013 Summer Universiade half marathon, and won the 2014 All Japan Women’s Student Half Marathon. Competed in 2014 Osaka Women’s Marathon in the “Next Heroine” program and finished top of students, placing 8th overall. Entered Shiseido in 2015. Okuno came first among Japanese women in the 10th Tokyo Marathon (February 2016).

Injury prevention and mental stability:
Proper hydration improves your performance!

Injury prevention and mental stability: Proper hydration improves your performance!One scene that associates with marathons is a crowd of runners at the water station. Ms. Okuno comments, “If you don’t drink enough fluids during a race, you may get dehydrated, resulting in faintness and even collapse, or get muscle cramps and be unable to run further.” Ms. Takenaka continues, “In a long-time race, water refreshes both the body and mind, and gives you new strength to compete further.” Thus, hydration is indispensable for health as well as performance, both physical and mental. However, stopping by a water station slows a runner down, and many might be anxious how to best grab a drink. Let’s get some tips on “smart hydration techniques.”

No panic even on the big day!
Basic hydration techniques to remember

No panic even on the big day! Basic hydration techniques to remember
So, what’s the best timing and amount to drink? Ms. Takenaka and Ms. Okuno give the following 3 hydration tips.

1) Thirsty or not, drink every 5K
Most marathons set up water stations every 5 kilometers, so it’s a good idea to drink every time, even before you get thirsty. On the other hand, for a 30-minute jog or a 5K race or less, drink before the start and you can do without fluids on the run.

2) Before a water station, change your course and move away from other runners
Once you stop, it’s hard to get your rhythm back and fatigue sets in, so it’s best to drink on the run if you can. To keep your pace, as soon as a water station has come into view, try to pull to the side of the road away from other racers to easily grab your drink. If you’re still uncomfortable, take your time to stop, have a drink, and then continue running.

3) No more spilling: pinch the paper cup before you drink
Hold the cup with your fingers at the top and pinch it. You’ll get a sharp point at the side of the cup; drink from it while running – easy and neat, and no liquid spilt!

If you are thirsty, it’s no problem to drink the entire amount, but forcing yourself may result in a need for a toilet break or, worse, a stomachache. On distances like half marathons, a few mouthfuls just to wet your throat are enough. In any case, adjust your hydration to the temperature and climate, as well as your condition.

By the way, some people carry a water bottle on the run, but both Ms. Takenaka and Ms. Okuno say no to that. “Hydration time is just a small fraction of your running time, so it’s better to spare those few minutes and run light”, explains Ms. Takenaka. And Ms. Okuno adds, “When throwing away your empty cup, make sure it doesn’t get into other runners’ way – that’s a part of marathon manners.”

What do athletes drink?
Shiseido Running Club favorites

What do athletes drink? Shiseido Running Club favorites
Recreational runners like us drink whatever marathon organizers offer, but we’re always curious about the original drinks prepared for professional athletes, aren’t we? Ms. Okuno says she prepares water, sports drinks, rehydration drinks, or bio tea, among others. Ms. Takenaka opts for water and diluted sports drinks. Good picks to try out during our regular jogging!

We hope you found this interview useful, both for revision and new insights. Hydrate smartly at your next race and finish with a smile!
(Photo By Thinkstock / Getty Images)

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