Q This may sound silly, but I have real problems drinking during races. Usually I grab a cup, spill most of the contents as Im picking it up, get one tiny slurp of water and then spill the rest down the front of my vest. Any tips to help me overcome my drinking problem?A Here are some simple tips to help you get the most from drinks stations. In big races with drinks on both sides of the road, head to the left most runners are right-handed and therefore favour the right.
Check how far ahead the water station continues. Sometimes its easier to grab at end of the line of tables rather than at the front. Its a risk though, as you might miss, or someone else could make off with the last drink.
Incidentally, make sure you know whats in the cup or bottle. If youre not used to drinking energy replacement drinks, suddenly gulping one down during a race might lead to an upset stomach. Likewise, you dont want to mistakenly pour one of these over your head to cool yourself down, as they tend to be very sticky!
To ensure you get enough fluids, walk through the water stations and drink as you go. Walking will enable you to drink more than one cup, and youre only likely to lose about seven seconds per station which you can make up because youll stay hydrated. If you dont want to lose those seven seconds, you can always get someone to hand you a drinks bottle filled with your favourite fluid. Strictly speaking this could get you disqualified, but unless youre right at the front, wholl notice (or really care)?
Finally, be polite. Look behind and around you before heading for the drinks station to make sure that you dont get in the way of any other runners.
Hal Higdon, RW USA Senior Writer