You might find that developing a daily hydration plan will help you on race day.
I’m sure you know about this rule but just in case you don’t: each day it’s best to aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces of water per day. If you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80 ounces of water per day. It sounds like a lot. But if you keep a reusable water bottle within reach, it’s pretty manageable. It sounds like fuzzy science, but it’s what all the sports dietitians recommend. This keeps you in a constant state of hydration, which will help you run faster, and lower your perception of effort. Studies have proven that as little as 2% dehydration can slow you down and make even the easy miles feel more difficult than they should be. I have definitely found this to be true in my own experience.
If you’re well-hydrated all the time, you don’t have to chug fluids and risk GI distress before or during a race.
Jen Van Allen is a runner and writer in Maine who has authored four books, including Run to Lose: The Complete Guide to Weight Loss for Runners (Rodale 2015).