I've never been a big water drinker. Sure, after a race or a workout in the heat outside, there is nothing I want more than some iced cold water. But during the day, it's not something I would actively drink. If I wasn't thirsty, I wouldn't drink anything. Simple!
Last month, we were in the middle of a workout and one of my friends commented on how small my water bottle was. It was pretty small, maybe less than 16oz. Her comment made me think about it a bit more. I knew I needed to be drinking more water, especially for the amount I train. But how could I get my body to make that switch? Even when I was training for OCR and running 20 - 40 miles a week, I was definitely not drinking as much water as I should've.
Failed attempts in the past
I have made serious attempts in the past at drinking more water, but I was not able to turn it into a habit.
One piece of advice I was given back when I was training for OCR was to set hourly alerts on my watch and every time I'd hear the beep, drink some water. That didn't work for me for a lot of reasons. First, it would require me to get up from the middle of work to get some water and second, even if I did have a bottle next to me, the water wouldn't be as cold as I would like it. I quickly started tuning the beep out anyway, so that idea, while it may work for some, did not work for me.
I also tried a HidrateSpark 3 water bottle, too. I liked it because it would automatically track the amount of water I was drinking in realtime via bluetooth, but the water wouldn't stay cold for as long as I wanted, so that quickly got old pretty fast for me. I do want to note they have a stainless steel bottle option now which would've most likely worked a lot better for me - so I recommend checking that out if you think something like this could work for you!
I still use their app to track my current water intake even though I'm not using one of their bottles and I get the push notifications throughout the day to drink water - those are still helpful to me now!
SO, WHAT ELSE DID I NEED TO DO?
Like most lifestyle changes, the easier you can make the change, the better and more likely you are to stick with it. So I knew I would need both cold water and a large bottle requiring as few refills as possible throughout the day. I'd also need a bottle quick and easy to clean.
I found just that on a quick Walmart trip February 21st - a $20 64oz TAL water bottle.
It made things easy - one full bottle per day would be my target. To some, 64oz may not seem like much - but as someone who would rarely have more than 20oz a day, that's a huge change!
Since February 22nd, I've filled and finished my 64oz bottle each day. It's easy to fit a bunch of ice in the bottle in the morning (the opening is pretty big!) and the water stays cold throughout the day. There have been a couple of times I've left the bottle in my car in the heat and the water was still cold for the rest of the day. The ice doesn't stay as long in the TAL bottle as I would expect - I have a small s'well bottle that will keep ice all day - but for the price paid, it's aligned with my expectations.
I do have to admit, there have been a lot of nights where water is chugged in the last couple of hours of the day, but no matter what, I make sure the bottle is done before I go to bed.
THE NOT SO GREAT RESULT OF DRINKING MORE WATER
Unfortunately, the days of peeing 2-3 times a day are long gone. I would say this is probably the biggest inconvenience of this change for me and the only downfall of increasing hydration.
I'm sure this will be less of an issue when I finally start finishing my water around 8-9pm, but since I'm drinking a lot of water so late, I've been waking up in the middle of the night and right before my alarm goes off in the AM to pee. This is completely new to me - I have always slept through the night with no issue and now my body won't let me! It's also annoying to have to get up throughout the day to pee more, but I suppose this is probably what is supposed to happen. Actually, according to google, "most people urinate between six and eight times a day"... so I guess I am now in that category!
I'm going to break this down into three categories - the athletic performance benefit, the dietary benefit and the physical appearance benefit. These are all very specific to me, but of course there are tons of articles out there with all of the benefits of drinking more water!
I had a major issue with side stitches last year while running. I would get less than half a mile and experience a killer side stitch and I think that also ruined running a little bit for me. I went for a couple of runs since starting to drink more water - no side stitches whatsoever! These were shorter runs - 1.25 miles and 2 miles, but I was side stitch free the whole time for both!
It's hard to quantify this, but I do feel like I can handle more in my training sessions before I start getting really tired now that I am coming into all of my sessions better hydrated.
I've had less sugary food and drink cravings since I've started drinking more water. I haven't been eating super healthy, but I've been able to control my chocolate (cadbury mini eggs!!) intake as well as other drinks. Pure Leaf Raspberry used to be my absolute favorite drink - I'd have a bottle every day, sometimes more. A six pack lasted me over a month, unheard of!
I've been told my skin also looks a lot better since drinking more water. I've never had bad skin or acne, but when I get really stressed, I tend to break out. This last week was pretty stressful and I made it out with no stress acne! Gotta give the water credit for that!
I also feel I look a little more leaner after starting to drink more water, but that could also be a result of other factors, so I wouldn't say that's a direct benefit of drinking more water, but I could say it is related to a certain extent!
BOTTOM LINE - DRINK MORE WATER, YOU'LL HAVE LESS PROBLEMS!
I'm really happy I finally found something that works for me. The 64oz bottle approach has been best - I just have to fill it up once a day and then work toward finishing it. I would like to get to 84oz every day by the end of this year. Totally doable!
Do you drink enough water every day? What have you done to consistently do so? Comment below!
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