When the kids come home from school it is interesting to find out what they have learned and what they can teach you as well. Rarely does it relate to running, but this weekend, my son told me about the Urine Hydration Charts above the urinals at school. Though I have been aware for years that the lighter the yellow is better, it kind of blew me away that the school system went to that length to teach the importance of hydration where the evidence is presented daily.
Distance running more than any sport depends on the wise consumption of water. Cramping and dry mouth would be tell-tale signs that not enough water has been taken in. What are the signs that too much water has been consumed while needed sodium and other necessary minerals are omitted? Marathoners have died or have been hospitalized for drinking too much water and have become water intoxicated also known as Hyponatremia. Now this blog is written by a runner with no medical training, so please read up on this subject, seek out your trusted medical Doctor and know that I provide no medical advice.
What I can say from my own personal experience is that I have had success by drinking a balance of Gatorade (or the provided energy drink at the respective marathon) and water. I tend to drink slightly more Gatorade than water, but will make adjustments according to the weather conditions. Knowing your body is key. Train with energy drinks and water to find what works best for you. Error on the side of caution.
Be safe and live to run another day.