10/7/21: A simple system to improve your hydration (and a free resource)
This week's Think Better Newsletter is about hydration.
Sometime last year my business partner Jon Rankin met a couple entrepreneurs, Jasmine Sanchez and Jalen Brown, who started a company called Vessel Athletics to make their new product, the Hydroshirt. We interviewed them on the Go Be More Podcast about their experience.
The Hydroshirt aims to solve the problem of hydrating on a long run, by carrying the water you need comfortably within the shirt itself. No more heavy water bottles, extra vests or backpacks, or worst of all, being stuck out on the roads or trails feeling dehydrated.
The thing that inspires me most about Jasmine is that she found a real problem that is highly relevant to her experience, and she set out to solve it creatively and (fingers crossed), profitably. She's actively using her passion--running--as a platform to build new skills and opportunities.
She recently published a free short Hydration eBook and Sweat Rate Calculator that not only outlines why optimal hydration is important, it covers 11 factors that affect our hydration, steps for creating a personal hydration plan, and a formula for calculating your sweat rate accurately. I love when people create free resources in areas I "should" be more knowledgeable!
Here's where I make a confession. In 20+ years of running, I'd never once calculated my sweat rate. I never felt the need because I'm a VNS: a "virtual non-sweater."
I don't sweat much. Sometimes my forehead glistens and once in a while I'll get a slight hint of wetness in my armpits. I like to believe it's because I'm highly genetically evolved.
[Side note: If I did sweat like a normal person, I'd suffer greatly because my eyebrows have also evolved to be completely useless at stopping that tiny bit of forehead sweat from dripping straight into my eyes. Oh the challenges of being so evolved!]
Where was I? Right. Hydration is important. If you sweat a lot, it's very important. If you never give it any thought, you're almost certainly leaving some performance on the table.
One of the key points I emphasize in Make the Leap is that we want every aspect of our training to be "Previously Considered." That means we've analyzed it, optimized it to the degree we can sustain today, and then turned it into a system or routine such that we don't have to overly think about it on a daily basis.
Today's a great opportunity to do that with your hydration. Give Jasmine's book a read. Calculate your sweat rate. Take a few moments to make a couple improvements, and bake them into your routine. Then you can get back to focusing on the next area of your training you want to improve.
I have a very simple system I've long used to manage my hydration. It starts with a pre-conditional rule. As a reminder, a pre-conditional rule establishes the condition for your behavior. It's a key part of creating systems and environments that lead to discipline as a lazy default.
My pre-conditional rule is: always have water with me. I strive to always have a water bottle on my desk, in my backpack, by my bed and in the kitchen. When I sit down at the couch, I bring a water bottle. If I get to one of those places and don't have my water, I turn around and get it before settling in. It's my rule. Where I go, water goes with me.
My system is: every time I drink water, I take 7 sips. If I'm thirsty, I take big sips. If I'm not, I take small sips. But I take 7. It's not because I'm OCD. It's because following this system ensures I drink a little more water than I would otherwise. It keeps me slightly more hydrated. And it's so easy to do!
(Note: those who've read the book will recall that I wrote that I take 10 sips. Starting in college, and for nearly two decades, I drank 10 sips. But I recently decided I could get the same benefit from 7. So I changed it! Remember: if your system can be improved, improve it!)
Does this always work. Of course not. I still have moments where I look at the full water bottle sitting next to me and think, "Dammit." But then I take 7 big sips and go fill it up again. And I feel like a champ.
What is your system for ensuring you're always hydrating? (And do you know your sweat rate?)
Go Be More,
Author of Make the Leap: Think Better, Train Better, Run Faster and the companion Think Better Workbook
Co-host of the Go Be More Podcast
Co-host of the Fueling the Pursuit Podcast
“You are 87% water. The other 13% keeps you from drowning.”
- P. E. Morris
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