HYDRATION Proper hydration with water and electrolyte replacement is essential for endurance walking!
Drink before your are thirsty! A few simple rules will help you maintain a healthy balance between dehydration and over-hydration (hyponatremia) on training walks. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate during walks. Drink 12 to 24 ounces of fluid per hour - a mix of water and electrolytes (sports drinks.) Carry refillable water bottles with you on all training walks and have water re-fill stops planned along your walk routes.
Here are tips and guidelines to follow regarding your
- Drink 2 glasses (16 ounces or 1 pint) of fluid 2 hours before exercise. This will allow time to excrete the excess fluid prior to walking.
- How do you know you are hydrated while training? Your urine should be clear and copious!
- When doing long training walks you should need to pee at each rest break (every 3 to 4 miles).
- Try to consume 4 to 5 ounces of fluid per mile (1 to 2 standard-sized water bottles per hour). This should include water and sports drink. Check your water bottle and if it is not empty at a break, you are not drinking enough!
- Pay particular attention to your hydration when training on cool days – you may not feel thirst as acutely as a hot day but your body still needs to be properly hydrated.
- Remember, in hot or humid weather you may need to drink more fluids.
- Figure out personal intake and output levels by weighing yourself before and after a training walk (1lb equals 16 oz. of fluids.) If you lose weight, drink more the next time. If you gain weight, drink less.
- Drink 8 glasses (64 ounces or 2 quarts) of fluid during the 24 hours before a long training walk or the event.
NUTRITION Food is fuel! Endurance walking requires fueling your body.
Eat before you are hungry! You should be eating every few miles on training walks and on the event weekend. Training walks are a great opportunity to see what foods work for you and when you need to eat to keep your energy level steady to prevent "bonking."
- Foods high in carbohydrates and foods balanced in protein and fat content are ideal.
- Avoid high fat foods which may cause bloating and give a feeling of sluggishness.
- Foods we love to eat on training walks include: peanut butter, nuts, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, dried fruit, baked sweet potaotes, baby carrots, bagels, various energy bars, pretzels, and lots of fruit – bananas, strawberries, apples, etc.