Run: Hydration in the Desert

I've read a few articles about hydration, but I've never seen any of them mention temperatures above 90 degrees. In case you don't know, in Arizona, it hits 90 by 7am... or earlier. Well I decided to do my long run on Monday morning since I haven't been working on Mondays. The goal was to do 8 miles, which is a little steep for me but I've been feeling ambitious. Much to my dismay, I slowed to a meandering walking pace at about 6.3 miles. How depressing.


No seriously. Let me remind you that I am a novice runner, so I have never had to run in the summer. I have read a lot of conflicting literature on hydration, but many of them say that you don't need to worry about drinking water if you are only running for an hour. I was planning on running for 1 1/2- 2 hours, but I don't have a fancy water bottle belt yet so I figured, how bad could it be?

It was bad-- real, real bad. I started around 7am, and I was feeling pretty good. My knees hurt a little, but being the competitive to the point of irresponsible person that I am, I kept running. I ran on the canals by South Mountain, which I have never done before. It was a beautiful run and I was instantly charmed by rabbits, gofers, lizards and the occasional unidentified critter (which I dramatically always assume is a rattler). By 7:45 am, it was about 95 degrees and I was fading fast. My skin literally felt like it was burning, and not just in a sunburn kind of way. It felt like it was burning from the inside, like my skin might burn off. My hands were tingling, my eyes were stinging, my heart felt like it was sticking to my ribs with each pump and I was sweating a lot-- I mean A LOT. But I kept running, because that's what endurance means, right? Endurance = just keep running.

God I was so mad when I had to stop. No water? What was I thinking?

So I leave you with two thoughts:
1. I need to buy a runner's belt for water and gel and things, and I would just love some suggestions. I am fairly thin and short with a big booty so I don't want to wear a belt that is too lose and gonna bounce around back there. I want something snug and form-fitting... if that's possible in a water bottle belt. Please help!

2. It's really struck me lately how so much of running is a personal experience. No matter how many articles you read and experts you talk to, it comes down to what works for you and your body. Sometimes my body is a big fat wuss and needs water, some times my body feels like it can do sprints barefoot without feeling any current pain. Ya just never know because it's different for everyone.

The last issue of Runner's World featured an article titled, Sipping Points, which I thought was a well-written, well-cited and informative article. The author makes a few hydration suggestions, one of which is to keep track of the water you drink before/after/during each run and keep a journal. The journal, ideally, will help the runner be more aware of her hydrating needs.

And there lies reason number eight why I should be keeping a running journal. Ah, the to-do lists never end! 


  1. Running in the heat is a complete suckfest!! I use a fuel belt (I believe that's the name of the brand) which comes in three different sizes so you're sure to find one that fits securely. I also love that it spreads the love across 4-6 water bottles around your waist so you don't have a huge one sloshing on your back.

    If you do end up buying a belt that has several bottles as opposed to one I would recommend freezing the water in half of them before you head out. That way you have cold water throughout your run. Good luck!!

  2. Thanks Anne! That's a good tip. I would never have thought that more bottles would be better than one big one. I'm definitely going to check this brand out. It must feel so weird to run with a big 'Ol belt on! ! I suppose I better get used to it :)

  3. I'm another Anne...thanks for joining me on my journey. I'll be following along on yours. Sounds like we're on a similar running route...asthma and out first marathon :)

    I also own a fuel belt. Actually, if you check out this post:


    There are photos of my half-marathon and I am wearing my fuel belt. You'll see that it's tight around my waist and I have four bottles. I like the idea of freezing the water in some of the bottles before heading out on a longer run. You must get some kind of hydration belt with those kinds of temps!

    BTW, I LOVE Toni Morrison...have pretty much read all her books. I read Jazz a while back, but I remember always enjoying her books.

  4. Fuel Belt is good as is Amphipod. I use a rule of thumb to bring hydration for 1 + hours though I've heard :45 mins is better, maybe even more with the heat. If your stomach can handle it I'd try Nuun or another really light sports drink for the electrolytes....

  5. haha hi Anne #2! Ya, I got really excited when i saw your blog. I''m glad I'm not the only person with severe asthma who's crazy enough to start distance running :) Thanks for the tip on the fuel belt. I think I'm going to try some on this weekend.

    And yes Toni Morrison is great! I read Beloved, and loved it, so now I'm on to Jazz. I'll let you know what I think!

  6. Patrick, I do have a sensitive stomach, but I think I can handle a sports drink. I've never tried Nuun so I think I will not give it a try. Hopefully I'll get this hydration and woozy thing under control. Thanks!


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