It’s important to stay well hydrated, especially when performing strenuous exercise or exercising in the heat. Mild dehydration can negatively impact your performance and severe dehydration can be downright dangerous.
Thankfully, most runners know that it’s important to drink fluids when they run and don’t let themselves get to the point of severe dehydration. But what you may not know is the best way to keep yourself properly hydrated.
Here are 6 hydration tips for runners:
Drink Before You Run
There are various recommendations for how much you should drink before you run and how long before your run you should finish drinking. A common suggestion is to drink 8 – 16 ounces of fluids 1 – 2 hours before you run. Factors such as how long you’re running, how hot it is and how much you weigh can affect the exact amount you drink. Unless you didn’t have time to get in enough fluids, avoid drinking too close to the start of your run.
Drinking small amounts of fluid often helps you absorb the fluid more effectively. It also helps you avoid that feeling of fluid sloshing around in your stomach as you run.
Come Up With A Schedule That Works For You
During your training runs, pay attention to how often you drink, how much you drink and how you feel after drinking. Knowing what works for you during training runs will help you devise a plan to keep you well hydrated when race day rolls around, assuming conditions are similar.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Behind
Once you’ve started to feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun. Another sign you’re not drinking enough is dark colored urine in relatively small amounts. The darker your urine, the more likely you need to up your fluid intake.
Adapt Based On Conditions
If you’re going for a short run (under an hour) or are running at a leisurely pace, drinking some water every few miles is usually sufficient to keep you hydrated. But if you are going on a long run, are pushing yourself hard, it’s extremely hot or you are sweating profusely, you’ll also need some electrolytes and carbohydrates, like the ones found in sports drinks.
Keep Drinking When You’re Done
The end of a run or a race doesn’t signal the end of your hydration needs. Post-running hydration helps with recovery and gets your fluid levels back to normal. Aim to drink 16 – 24 oz. of water for every pound lost while running. You can check if you’ve drank enough water by weighing yourself before and after a run. If you’re drinking enough, you should weight about the same.