Hydration Principle: When you’re thirsty, it’s too late.
Perry coached my basketball teams when I was a kid. He’s in heaven now, but he used to walk marathons with his wife. It was their retirement hobby. He and his wife travel all over the country going from marathon to marathon. I saw a picture of Perry walking one of those marathons. He was in jean shorts and a tucked-in polo shirt. That’s not my style—I would chafe something fierce—but I respect it.
I once talked with Perry about his hobby. He had a few secrets to share about his marathon-marching success:
1. He kept a good pace.
2. He kept a good attitude.
3. He never missed a hydration station.
Any competitive long-distance athlete knows that if you reach the point of feeling dehydrated, it’s too late for a drink. The damage is done. You won’t be able to replenish in time while your body is in constant motion. You pretty much just have to hope for the best and pop in an IV needle after the race.
This is the reason why there are hydration stations every mile or two along a marathon course. Even if Perry wasn’t yet thirsty, he had a drink—because he knew dehydration creeps up on a person. He never missed a station because he knew his body was using up water and it was critical to his long-term success to replenish.
Now look, I’m not a marathon runner. But, as with any good metaphor, this isn’t about that.
Like hydrating, there are a number of important things we should be committed to keeping with, even when we don’t feel like we need them. Some pertain to physical fitness; others are simply “life fitness.”
• Regular exercise
• Whole foods
• Responsible spending of your money
• Phone calls to family members
• Support group meetings
• Sex with spouse
• Church and community engagement
• Regular prayer/meditation
Now it’s your turn. List a couple more habits that you know are important to your overall health.
These are things we do regularly, even if we don’t feel “thirsty” yet.
I offer the same encouragement that my friend Perry would offer to a wannabe marathon runner: don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink water. Replenish, replenish, replenish.
Take inspiration, or encouragement, for an example. As water is to your body, so encouragement is to your spirit. Where do you go for encouragement?
• Small groups/Support Groups
• Inspiring People
There’s one really strategic option we’re missing.
What are you already lacking that you know you need? How can you begin to incorporate the “hydration principle” into your life?