#155 Hydration tips for runners with Josh Sprague of Orange Mud - DOC

#155 Hydration tips for runners with Josh Sprague of Orange Mud

Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast, we are talking about staying hydrated during your long runs with Josh Sprague, endurance athlete, and founder of Orange Mud. 

Josh is an interesting guy who has a lot of very specialized knowledge that can be of benefit to runners. Josh has done over 100 Mountain bike races, Ironman triathlons, and adventure races. Just in the last five years Josh has also done marathons, 50K trail races, 50 milers and even 100 mile ultra-marathons. Although I know he will try to downplay it, don’t let him fool you. Josh is the real deal! 

I wanted to have Josh on the show today for a couple of reasons. 

The first reason is because Josh is the founder, CEO and designer of the best hydration pack I have ever used. In fact, I have to say at the Orange Mud pack made me a convert to the running pack crowd. 

For years during marathons and Ironman races I was always a little perplexed why I would see athletes running in organized events wearing a hydration pack. But I can say Josh designed a hydration pack so comfortable, I forget it’s there. I wore it out on a 25 mile trail run yesterday and I also wore recently during the Houston Marathon. 

I figure this guy knows a lot about hydration and he certainly understands the keys to staying hydrated during long endurance events. So that’s the first reason I wanted to have him here to talk with us. Today Josh will help you learn how hydration can help increase your endurance performance and maybe even understand a little bit about how optimal hydration could help decrease your risk of an over training injury. 

The second reason I wanted to have Josh on the show was to talk about garbage. We were recently having a conversation and somehow we ended up talking about the amount of trash that gets generated from a single endurance event. Hydration packs actually can make a serious contribution to the reduction of waste we endurance athletes create, simply from our participation in long races. 

So Josh, welcome to the show… 

Dr. Segler: Before we get started maybe you can just give us a little background about yourself, your athletic history, your interest in marathons and ultra-marathons. J

Dr. Segler: If you think back to some of your earliest races and events, can you recall any particular race when you actually feel like you were dehydrated, or in someway really did not optimize your hydration? If so what was the effect? J

Dr. Segler: I think hydration is one of the limiters for many runners. It seems like often-missed, low hanging fruit that has the potential to boost performance. 

I know as runners we all want to focus on working harder, suffering more and trying to come up with some new technique or training plan that’s going to get us faster and stronger. But in many cases when we are already training at a high-level there are very few gains to be made by working harder. 

Some of the biggest gains actually come from small changes in other areas, like improving nutrition, improving the quality of our sleep or by maintaining a state of optimal hydration. 

How do you think optimal hydration plays into athletic performance in long events like marathons and ultra-marathons? 

Dr. Segler: My personal opinion is that it isn’t really that difficult to stay hydrated during a marathon. Let’s face it, the volunteers are handing out cups of water every single mile or so. Taking in fluids during a race like that is not a logistical challenge. It’s just a challenging discipline. You have to have the discipline to drink when you’re not thirsty. 

But you also have to be practiced in that discipline. You have to do long runs, where you are continuing to take in fluid at the same intervals that will match your race. You basically have to train yourself to drink frequently if you’re going to stay as hydrated as possible. 

I have a suspicion that many runners actually start races in a state of sub-optimal hydration. I think part of that stems from some of the difficulty of actually staying hydrated during the long runs in those big blocks of training that lead up to a marathon or an ultra-marathon. 

And there are no volunteers handing out little cups of water on your training runs. 

What do you think about the idea of training yourself to hydrate in a way that matches what you’ll do on race day? Do you think it really matters? J

Dr. Segler: I really and truly believe that many of the runners I see developed over training injuries as a consequence a decrease pliability of the tissues when they are de-hydrated and continuing to train. What are your thoughts on this? 

Dr. Segler: Let’s talk trash. In one of the four different pockets on the chest straps of my Orange Mud endurance pack I ways carry a small Ziploc bag. And on every single trail run I pick up at least one piece of garbage. It’s usually a discarded gel packet or bar wrapper. But fortunately most people don’t drop their trash on the trail. But when it comes to organize events that seems to change quite a bit. 

I have seen hundreds of people ion Ironman events throw garbage on the side of road halfway between aid stations, even though it’s completely acceptable to drop your garbage right in front of the volunteers you be picking up garbage at the aid stations. Yet it always kind of infuriates me when I see people unnecessarily littering the countryside. 

So I am interested to hear your thoughts about organized racing and the amount of garbage these events happen to create. And what if anything might be a solution?

Dr. Segler: I know Orange Mud has a fanatical group of users. Even though I know it’s not one of your flagship products, I have to say, I love the Orange Mud stretchy running shirt. I have several of those shirts and I wear them almost every time I run. In fact I even stopped on the side of the trail after my first runs in one of your shirts and shot a video testimonial because I think that shirt is so perfectly built for runners. 

I think you have something like 337 brand ambassadors who support and promote Orange Mud hydration packs. That is just a testament how awesome your hydration packs are. 

But you must get a lot of interesting feedback about hydration issues and how to work to stay hydrated from those brand ambassadors. 

What are some of the unexpected lessons you learned about hydration from Orange Mud ambassadors? J

Dr. Segler: I have one question for you that I really don’t necessarily think I understand. I understand the importance of staying hydrated in terms of injury reduction and high level athletic performance. But I have to admit I get a little confused about why some of the most elite ultra marathoners don’t run with hydration packs. 

Why is it that let’s say average runners like me somebody who likes to run long, likes to do lots of races and who likes to train a lot could not survive without a hydration pack on long trail races and long trail runs, yet many of the truly elite top tier ultra marathoners and endurance athletes will run with just I hand-held? J

Dr. Segler: So for those of us normal human runners who might be training for a half-marathon, marathon or 50K, what do you really think are the indications that somebody isn’t taking in enough fluid on their long runs. How can we tell if we are running dry? What should we be watching out for the indicate they might need to up their fluid intake? 

Dr. Segler: Maybe you could also share with all of the runners out there just a little bit of advice on selecting a hydration pack. I personally use (and love) the Orange Mud Endurance Pack. That thing is awesome! It carries everything I need and I really and truly have had no issues with it. I’ve had no chafing, no abrasions, no nothing! I think that pack holds up to 2 L of water and even and addition 4L of cargo, jackets, has, gloves, whatever. 

I created a review video and we will post it on the podcast show notes page of the Doc On the Run website anyone can check out. And just in case you’re wondering, I did not get the pack for free. I did not even get a discount. I bought it myself. I paid full price for it. And it was worth every penny! 

But I know the Endurance Pack is one of your bigger packs. No everyone needs that. 

Obviously someone who’s doing a 25 mile training run has to carry a lot more water than someone who’s doing a 5 mile run. So maybe you can help us just understand what size pack and how much water runners really should have for different distance events. 

What are your recommendations? 

Dr. Segler: Josh, thanks again for taking time out of your schedule and for coming on the show today to share your hydration wisdom with us today! 

Dr. Segler: This is all been interesting and I think it’ll be really useful for all of our listeners. If any of them want to reach out to you directly how can they find you? 


Links mentioned in the show:

Website: orangemud.com

Twitter: @Orangemud

Instagram: #Orangemud

Facebook: Orange Mud

Pinterest: theornagemud

Endurance Pack: Ideal for running and biking (the hydration pack Doc On the Run uses himself!) It’s awesome…get one!!!



If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!