Sarah Bowen Shea: Hydration Is More Than Plain Water

Nuun is an essential part of Sarah Bowen Shea's hydration strategy. Photo: Sarah Bowen Shea

I don’t have many addictions: I don’t imbibe caffeine (makes me jittery) and I rarely sip alcohol (just don’t dig the taste too much). But one beverage I’m full-on devoted to is Nuun. Roughly the size of two stacked quarters, one of these electrolyte replacement tablets turns regular water into a lightly flavored sports drink with fewer than seven calories.

Before every run, I chug-a-lug 24 ounces of Nuun, usually Orange or Lemonade flavor. On runs lasting 75 minutes or more, I carry either a bottle of Nuun-laced water or a fuel belt festooned with Nuun bottles. And as soon as I walk in the back door post-run, I drink some more Nuun-goodness. I sweat like a horse completing the Kentucky Derby, so my body screams out not just for fluid but for the sodium, magnesium and potassium lost in my rivers of sweat.

When I’m marathon training, I also drink an extra bottle of Nuun-water the day before a long run. Having trained for and run 10 marathons, I know being well-hydrated means more than chugging some water moments before heading off on a run. Hydration becomes somewhat of an obsession for me while marathon training. I can’t stand being thirsty, and I know my hard-working body needs fluid to function properly. Being properly hydrated also helps my body’s cooling system work as it should.


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