Dehydration and the “bonk”

Saturday morning I headed out bright and early to speak with the SF Marathons training group, Run 365, to talk to them about the importance of hydrating properly not only during the race, but before and after as well. Nuun is the official hydration sponsor of the San Francisco Marathon, so it will be the on course drink for runners.


In case you were wondering, this wasn’t even all of the Run 365 group! And surprise for me, San Francisco Road Runners AND Team in Training were meeting at Sports Basement that morning – oy. Every single runner hit up my table as they entered the store after the run – something I wasn’t counting on since I thought it was just customers and Run 365. I went through 2.5 ENTIRE boxes of Nuun and had to stop when I ran out of product and the 450 cups I had brought with me.

We all know dehydration isn’t good, but how much do you actually know about it?

  • “Suns out, guns out” no longer applies – dehydration can make you weak.  Even just mild dehydration can make your muscles weak. Nobody likes the weaksauce!
  • Dehydration can slow you down big time (experienced firsthand!) If you’re a crazy sweater (guilty), dehydration can come on faster as well.  The more dehydrated you are, the less blood your heart heart pumps per beat. No bueno. AKA that oxygen-rich blood your body is filled with? Not getting to your muscles, and now you have to work even harder to maintain your intensity level (or in my case, slow waaayyy down because my body can’t sustain that intensity level if it’s not getting all that oxygeny goodness)
  • Dehydration can make you hangry – and by you, I really mean it makes me hangry, so I’ll just assume it makes everyone hangry so that I feel better about my own personal hangries/rungries.   People often associate dry mouth/dry lips with beginning to get dehydrated, but if you’ve already made it to that point, you’re already dehydrated.  Along those same lines, your belly might start to get rumbly and you think “dang, I’m hungry!” but in all reality, that’s your dehydration talking. You’re not really hungry, but your body is craving the liquids. You grab that bag of Doritos fruit and start munching. Hopefully you grabbed something healthy haha. If not, you are getting the foods small amount of water content, but now you’re getting unwanted (and chances are, unneeded) calories. BOO. My advice: get your drink on BEFORE you eat to make sure you’re properly hydrated, and that way you know how hungry you actually are.
  • Dehydration headaches are THE WORST – I get headaches and the occasional migraine on the regular, even before I started running. Then when I first started running, I was figuring out fuel and hydration as well. I didn’t know anything about it, so I wasn’t hydrating properly and after my long runs with TNT on Saturdays, I would basically be dead for the rest of the day. I got bad headaches that would knock me out for quite a few hours afterwards, so I would take long naps, and then my entire Saturday would be gone. No fun.
  • The BONK – No one wants to bonk. No one wants your brain to poop out on you, and you start running around like a nincompoop.  Even mild dehydration can affect your mental capacity. I’ve done a run before work, and didn’t hydrate before (since I commute 2 hours to work, I didn’t want to have too pee halfway through the drive), went straight into my run, and then dove straight into work while I was done. Not smart because my brain was fuzzy and I could.not.concentrate
  • Frequent travelers – if you travel a lot for work (or fun, I’m jealous), dehydration can be a big issue. I like to sleep on planes, so that’s time taken away from drinking water. On an international flight, that’s a LONG time to go with no fluids. Not drinking enough during the flight combined with the fact that there’s little humidity in the cabins and boom, insta-problem.  This is also true if you’re traveling somewhere with unclean drinking water. Drink it, you get sick, poop and/or vomit for days = very dehydrated and sad you (and your companion)lebron-james-crampLebron James should have been drinking Nuun so he didn’t cramp up during Game 1 from dehydration.
    GO SPURS! haha

    My advice? Drink up and drink often. Make sure you’re replenishing everything you’re sweating out of your body. Drinking water is great for staying hydrated, but if you’re being “more than normal or an average day” kind of active, water can flush out the electrolytes that your body naturally produces, making dehydration inevitable. Solution? Drink Nuun! There are plenty of flavor options, so you can pick your favorite, or mix and match (I’ve been digging a 1/2 tab of Strawberry Lemonade + 1/2 tab of Watermelon lately).

20140608-213801-77881307.jpgYou don’t have to have the above spread, but it certainly helped me out on Saturday when I was hydrating, filling and lifting those heavy beverage containers, standing for hours of end and talking to every runner as they came in.

Then Sunday I went to go for my #RWRunStrek run, but then this happened:


I was already sweaty in the car from just being outside. There was NO WAY I was going to run outside in 107* degree direct sun. Sorry streak, but you’ll have to wait! I went inside and downed a tall ,ice cold glass of my great-grandma’s age-old Sun Tea recipe + a tablet of Tri-Berry Nuun. YUM! Sugar-free flavored ice tea = amazing.


How do you hydrate?

Comments (2)

  1. Rachel @RunningRachel

    Oooh the heat. Blasted heat for stopping the run streak… but way to stay smart! I stay hydrated DURING my run with only water (anything else hurts my stomach). However, PRE and POST run I use Nuun. 🙂
    Rachel @RunningRachel recently posted…Summer Fun in SacramentoMy Profile

    1. (Post author)

      Nuun has actually been the only thing that doesn’t hurt my stomach when I drink it during a run! It’s been a lifesaver. Thankfully in that heat, I was headed west, so it cooled down, I donned my reflective vest and headlamp and headed out for a quick 1.5 mile run downtown (still super lively with people at 9pm!)


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge