Tyler and I recently overheard someone at a race quoting Mark Twain: “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” And holy cow – it couldn’t be more true.
We’ve made plenty of rookie mistakes while pursuing our passions for running and triathlon. We’ve lived, and we’ve definitely learned.
Here are four of the simplest, most effective tactics we’ve discovered for making your next adventure even safer and happier than your last:
Tip 1: Take two sips of water every mile.
When we started running Tyler and I would often suffer from gut-wrenching stomach cramps after our runs. The issue? We weren’t adequately hydrated.
The best habit we’ve developed to combat dehydration is simply taking two sips of water every mile. The beep of Tyler’s GPS watch is a good reminder if we lose focus or start to get lazy.
If we’re going to be out for more than 90 minutes, we’ll also take an electrolyte tablet every hour (or we’ll pack an electrolyte drink instead of water). If we’re having a super hot or super sweaty run, we’ll increase to 4-6 sips per mile.
Tip 2: Bring more food and water than you think you need.
Have you heard the story about the runner who ate from a dumpster because he didn’t pack enough food? Or the cyclist who had to hitchhike home because she didn’t have enough energy to get through those final miles of her ride?
Yes – these things really happen. If you don’t want your next mid-run snack to come from a dumpster, play it safe and pack one more snack and slightly more water than you think you need.
For running or cycling sessions over 90 minutes, Tyler and I typically consume 150-200 calories per hour. Before we head out, we’ll pack all of the food and water we think we need to meet those caloric needs, then we’ll pack one extra thing to serve as our emergency fuel.
An alternative would be to…
Tip 3: Pack money or a credit card.
If you’re worried about carrying too much extra weight, just bring some money (and make sure there’s a store or gas station close to your route).
Tip 4: Bring a phone, or make sure help is within crawling distance.
Twisted ankles and unexpected injuries happen to the best of us. You don’t want to find yourself miles from home and unable to reach help if something goes wrong. (Just remember to put your phone on silent. You’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors, remember?)
So there you have it: Four simple, easy-to-remember tips to help you make the most of your adventures (and make it home safely)!