Runners Nutrition Part 2: Water

The first step to “Good” Nutrition is focusing on what foods you need for optimal performance instead of focusing on what foods to avoid. The common assumption that American endurance athletes make is that if they avoid the foods that could harm performance that they will inherently gain the foods that will improve performance. This assumption is flawed for many reasons. One example is the common avoidance of saturated fats by many endurance athletes that has lead to a depletion of iron stores as a result of avoiding the consumption of red meats.

To learn what an endurance athlete needs to eat in order to maximize performance we will focus on two primary objectives in the form of questions:

  • What am I consuming?
  • Why should I consume it?

What am I consuming?  NUTRIENTS

There are six classes of nutrients: water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In the following blog series each nutrient will be described briefly and the primary food sources of each will be identified.  Also within each section, a brief suggestion of when to consume each nutrient will be given.

In the following blog series we will go through each nutrient with a:

  • Brief description
  • Primary food source
  • Best time to consume

1. What am I consuming?  WATER
The body is 50% to 75% water, depending on age and body fatness. A loss of only 3% to 4% of body water adversely affects aerobic performance. Water is lost primarily through sweat, urine, respiration and cell activity.

2. Why should I consume it?  WATER
Deena Kastor, the American record holder in the marathon, says that one of the keys to her performance is drinking 1 Gallon of water per day. Optimal consumption of water comes within 30min after training sessions are completed and during training sessions of over 1hr 30min.

You will often hear a recommended amount of ounces per distance or time. The troubles with these formulas are that often athletes do not take the time to remember the amount or timing of such formulas. Also, in December because of the temperature being cooler you will need less water than in August when it is hot.

I suggest that you drink within 30min after your training session until you are no longer thirsty and then drink a little more. Think of it in terms of drinking the amount of water you lost plus a little more for cell adaptation to occur.


Thanks Dr. David Martin for your insight on runner’s nutrition and letting us use your research. He told us we could glean and share his information, as we’re working to help you guys run faster.

Better Training for Distance Runners by David Martin

 Exercise Physiology by Powers and Howley 331


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  1. Runners Nutrition Part 3: Vitamins - GoGo Running — October 20, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  2. Runners Nutrition Part 1: Are You Eating Enough? - GoGo Running — October 22, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

  3. Runners Nutrition Part 4: Minerals - GoGo Running — October 30, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  4. Runners Nutrition Part 5: Carbohydrates - GoGo Running — November 3, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  5. Runners Nutrition Part 6: Fats - GoGo Running — November 5, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  6. Runners Nutrition Part 7: Protein - GoGo Running — November 12, 2011 @ 8:47 am