The Water-Only Challenge – Half Marathon Training

Posted on December 14, 2012

Last February I had the privilege of running my first half marathon at the Mercedes Marathon Weekend in Birmingham. I say privilege because I didn’t die afterwards. Running on a meager two weeks of training, I somehow pulled it off with a respectable time of 2:07.

Tanya Sylvan, Zack Sylvan / Mercedes Marathon, Birmingham AL / 2012

Mercedes Marathon, Birmingham, AL / 2012

Without skipping a beat, literally on the drive home from my wife’s ass-kicking performance at the Rocket City Marathon last weekend, Tanya mentioned that we have to register for this year’s Mercedes race again. (Not that she’s counting, but the Mercedes Marathon is like 66 days away.) Something about watching herds of sweaty, bloody, crying humans chase after one another for four-and-a-half hours made me consider her remark.

I thought, this time I’ll shake things up a bit though. I’ve decided to properly train for this race to see what kind of improvements I can make.

I already have a few things going for me over last year. I’ve outlined them mostly for my own benefit, so I’ll spread my thoughts out over the next few days and spare your eyes:

I drink a shit ton of water/Something about moving to Birmingham made me start watching (almost) everything I put into my body. In college, Tanya and I would keep our fridge stocked with every flavored down and sugared up fluid we could throw money at. From Vitamin Water and Gatorade to Sunny D, Capri Sun and soda. Mind you working at a restaurant where soda flowed freely from the spigots like fucking Niagara Falls didn’t help either. It was bad news all around.

I don’t know exactly what it was that set me off, but for the past year and a half I’ve made it part of my routine to consume at least 60-120 ounces of water per day. I even had an app to track my daily consumption. Yep, a bit hardcore. It’s one of those things that you just have to get in the habit of doing without even thinking. I’ve found that it’s much easier to grab my Nalgene bottle and lug it around all day long rather than shell out cash for vending machines or even bottled water. Don’t even get me started on bottled water.

The Water-Only Challenge - Half Marathon Training

Instructions: Everyday, as printed on the bottle. Drink 2-4 of these babies daily.

Somewhere around 60% of your body is made of water, so if you don’t like it, then you don’t like the majority of yourself. It’s water, there’s no taste. And if you’re one of those people that insists water does have a taste then you should probably just get your overreacting taste buds removed. Once I started thinking of soda as a treat and not a semi-hourly quenching, that’s when I won. And by treat, I mean once every two weeks at most.

It pains me to the core to watch people chug two of those 20 oz. bottles of Mountain Dew before lunch. Or, hah, they reach for Diet Coke “because it’s healthier.” Well, congratulations to you for falling for the biggest marketing ploy ever. If you’ve never seen one of those videos where they show you how much 35 grams of sugar actually is, you need to watch one. Oh, look, here’s one.

Sure, you could argue that our bodies need sugar and that drinking soda isn’t going to kill you. But I challenge you to a week-long trial of drinking water instead of soda. Experience for yourself how amazing it feels to liberate your body from the sugary, processed crap. You’ll straight up feel better and your body will thank you for it.

Have you ever tried to cut carbonated or sugary beverages from your diet completely? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s half marathon lesson.

The Water-Only Challenge - Half Marathon Training by

3 Replies to "The Water-Only Challenge - Half Marathon Training"

  • Bo
    December 14, 2012 (3:34 pm)

    Not sure if I can ever make the break to nothing-but-water, but I agree that sugar consumption is a mindset. I’ve been a coffee drinker for decades, and two teaspoons/packets/lumps of sugar were always the norm. Several cups a day. A few months ago my heart started talking to me, and I immediately cut back to a half-packet of sugar per cup. Now I can’t even imagine two-packets-per, and after your post I’ll try the completely sugarless approach. It can only help my body.

    • Zack Sylvan
      December 14, 2012 (3:44 pm)

      You got me. I lied a little.

      I drink coffee, typically a cup every weekday. Thankfully, today is *Fun Fact Friday* – coffee is over 98% water so you’re pretty safe with a cup or two or even ten. I tend to go a little heavy on the creamer/sugar too. Tisk tisk. Black coffee is definitely an acquired taste and something I should probably start leaning towards.

  • Half Marathon Training With A Little Help From Nike Running « you don't know Zack
    December 17, 2012 (4:25 pm)

    […] which means I’m already better off than I was at this point last year. In case you missed part one, last year I trained for two weeks, peaked a 9-miler two days before the race and somehow managed […]

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