I don’t know about where you live, but here in Northern California, the weather has changed. We had a few days over 100 degrees last week and it can definitely take a toll on you. Both with you pace and the amount of water/electrolytes you need to take in. Do you know how much you should drink and when? Did you know that is just as important to hydrate before and after a run as it is to hydrate during a run? I will admit that I learned some new information when I was researching this article.
The first thing to know is that you need to hydrate before your run. You should drink 8-16 ounces of water 1-2 hours before your run. The important thing to remember is that you should not chug your water, bit take smaller sips. Also don’t drink water within 1 hour of your run or you may need to make some pit stops and might have some sloshing water in your stomach.
During your run, you should drink about 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes. This can be adjusted depending on the heat and other issues that may cause you to need more fluids. In the winter I use slightly less and in the summer I drink more because of sweat loss. When you run, your body needs the fluids to convert food into energy and carry oxygen to your cells. Again, try to sip instead of drinking a lot of water at once. I usually take a few sips (1-2 ounces every mile).
Here is the part that I never thought about. You need to drink fluids after your run to help your muscles recover more quickly. Try drinking 6-24 ounces of fluids depending on the intensity and duration of your run. You can tell how dehydrated you are by the color of your urine. You want a pale yellow color. Clear urine could indicate that you drank too much water and dark yellow means that you didn’t drink enough. Here is a great poster that shoes these amounts.
I see people all of the time pouring water on their heads. While it may feel great, you are wasting water that could be valuable. Especially if you get 6 miles into an 8 mile run and suddenly run out of water on a hot day. Besides carrying oxygen to your cells and helping to convert food into energy, hydration helps to cushion joints, prevents overheating, and aids in muscle recovery. Check out this video from Nathan Sports about hydration.
When you are dehydrated on your run, your muscles will fatigue easier and you are more prone to muscle cramps. Dehydration can also lead to dizziness, poor mood, and a dry sticky mouth. I had the beginning signs of heat stroke a few weeks back because I was dehydrated on the first really hot run this year. A 2% loss in body mass due to dehydration can lead to a 20% decrease in physical performance and when it’s hot outside that same 2% loss can lead to a 40% loss in physical performance. That is huge!
It is important to stay hydrated so you can perform at your peak and reduce your risk of injury. There are plenty of great hydration products out there. If you need a few suggestions, please check out my hydration review (click here). Stay hydrated and enjoy your run!
Note: I am not a doctor. The information that I am providing is strictly information that I have gathered. I am not an expert and my blog post should not be taken as medical advice.
Credit: Nathan Sports