Virtual Coffee Date: Marathon Chat with Bethan

Elle: So y’all know me; Elle, from here, ‘keep it simpElle’. If you’re up to date with what I’m up to then you’ll know I’m currently training for North London Half Marathon and Hackney Half Marathon. Following those, I’ll also be completing my first triathlon for which I’m learning to swim. 

I currently lead Run Club on Wednesday evenings which is co led by my friend and fellow blogger, Bethan, from A Pretty Place to Play

Bethan: I’m Bethan, a blogger and fitness writer with a day job in the city. I’m currently training for Paris Marathon in April and never say no to a half marathon (I’ll be at North London Half Marathon and Hackney Half Marathon too). Post marathon I want focus more on strength training and I’d love to give trail running a go!

Elle:  We’re gonna have a virtual chat / coffee date / share with you all about how we train, how hydration fits into that and all things related! 

…so wanna start this conversation?! I guess the key message is about hydration?? I actually struggle with that on a day to day basis and the issue is basically amplified when I am exercising. I’ve come to recognise that I get a headache when running if I am not well hydrated… 

Bethan: I’m in exactly the same boat around hydration, some days I’m awesome (and spend the whole day peeing) and others I totally forget and feel like my brain is shrivelling up. If I have a bad run it’s usually because I’m dehydrated, which sucks because it’s so easy to avoid!

Elle:  So do you actually use nuun? What do you use it for and when?! 

I try to use it pre and post running especially when I’ve sweat a lot. I also find it works wonders if / when I get cramp! 

Bethan: Yeah I do! I tend to use it pre or post run, and I especially like the flavours with caffeine for a little pre run boost (not recommended unless you’re stomach is hardened by years of drinking industrial strength black coffee, luckily mine is!). I find the citrus flavours really refreshing after a run, and it’s nice to know I’m being nice to my body after a tough sweat session!

Elle: I tend not to use nuun during my runs though as I don’t take water with me and unless I happen to have a couple of the single serve sachets handy they are not easy to transport outside of the tube! Lol

What else do you use to hydrate? Especially on your long, loooooong runs?! 

Bethan: I don’t tend to use it on runs either; after experimenting a bit I found water works best for me. For my long looooong runs I wear a race vest that holds 2 litres of water (alongside the various other gubbins I haul around with me). I really love being self sufficient and I’m planning to carry my own water during my marathon.

Elle: Aaaahhhh so I’m kinda jealous of your running back pack which carries your water! Haha! Is this the first time you’ve started using one?! At what distance does it become necessary for you to take it with you?! 

I find I can run 5km without needing hydration during. Above that, I do get a little thirsty. 

Bethan: I had a really cheap hydration pack that I picked up in Decathlon awhile back that I started using when I was training for my first half marathon. I was training through the summer and it was really hot, I found that I was running out of water after about 6 miles, so for anything longer than that I started using my pack. It worked really well, so when I started marathon training I invested in something a little fancier. 

Elle: Okay, what does your current weekly workout schedule look like training for a marathon? 

I run three times per week – one speed session, one tempo run and one long run. I also cycle commute 2-3 days per week (usually around 6 miles per day), go swimming 1-3 times and then teach twice. Ideally I’d love to include a yoga class but time doesn’t always allow. 

Bethan: At the moment I’m running three to four times a week and throwing in at least one session of strength training. Over the last few weeks the distances I’m running have really gone up, so I’m actually doing fewer sessions than I did BM (before-marathon) so that I can rest enough. I’d love to include more yoga too, but time isn’t my friend. 

Elle: Random. But not random. How would you rate your sweatiness post run? On a scale of 1 to 10?! 1 being, not a drop and 10 being, nope I haven’t just taken a shower (Pahaha!).

Obviously when we sweat we lose the salts in our body which need replacing, right?! 

I’d rate my sweat factor as a 4 but sometimes I do wonder if wearing amazing sweat wicking, fast drying fabrics help me to not become too sweaty! 

Bethan: I sweat so much! It’s partly because I don’t use antiperspirant (don’t fancy aluminium blocking my sweat glands up. Note, this doesn’t mean I don’t use deo!), but also I think I’m just a sweaty person. I roll with it, it’s my body’s way of cooling down, but I’m definitely an 8 or 9 – Nuun helps me replace all those lost salts! 

Elle: Anything else we should talk about?! 

Bethan: pee…pee is always a good option when thinking about hydration. I’m obsessed with the colour and clarity – the ideal is clear in a shade best described as ‘light lemonade’. If the colour’s off, or it’s cloudy I know I’m not getting my hydration right!

Elle: I totally get the pee thing. But don’t you find you spend a lot of time going to the bathroom? Or will it even out after a point? Your body gets used to it? 

Also if there’s one thing I hate, it’s needing the loo while out on a run, or at a race when I’m pushing for a personal best. 

Bethan: Oh my goodness, on the days I remember to hydrate I spend half my life in the loo. I have no idea if I’ll ever get used to it, although it does ensure I take lots of computer screen breaks, so that’s a good thing!

Yeah, I hate needing the loo when I’m out running, I’m near obsessive about going right before I start my run in a bid to avoid that.

Elle: Any other uses for your nuun supply?! 😉 

Bethan: Nuun is great for hangovers. Remember the run I did really hungover? Made it out the door with the help of Nuun! I wouldn’t endorse hungover running, or getting hungover full stop, alcohol dehydrates your body, but if it happens then Nuun is your secret weapon. 

Elle: My favourite / most creative use of nuun was to make cocktails on a hen do! Surely that’s tackling dehydration before it becomes an issue…?! Is that the moral of our story?! 

Elle 🙂 


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