9 Ways to Keep You Hydrated This Summer

By: Matt Young

It goes without saying that being hydrated is vital for runners especially for long distance running. A good rule of thumb is that you lose around 16 ounces of water for each hour that you exercise – and it can be substantially more than this if it is a hot day. But it’s not vital to replace every ounce of water lost.

Contrary to the popular saying that “women sparkle and men sweat”, women also sweat while exercising about the same amount as men in proportion to bodyweight. So both men and women should aim to replace the water they lose while exercising, either during the event (for longer events) or immediately afterwards.


Follow these 9 tips to keep you active and fit through the warm summer months:

1: Don’t Try to replace all the sweat

A little known fact is that water is a by-product of burning fuel to produce energy. This means that your body is producing extra water internally when you are exercising, and you therefore don’t need to drink to replace all the water you are losing through sweat.

But there is a risk of drinking too much water and creating a condition called hyponatremia and it’s far more dangerous than dehydration. So it’s not as easy as just drinking as much water or electrolyte drink as you can stand.   http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/hyponatremia

2: Drink as you feel and don’t make yourself drink

Author of Water Logged and The Lore of Running, MD and longtime runner Tim Noakes concludes that distance runners should drink as they feel and not force themselves to drink more, which generally means about 16 ounces per hour.   I generally agree with this.  However, there are plenty of other sources that recommend runners should drink much more than that. You will have to judge for yourself what works best for you, recognizing that there are dangers from over-hydration which are perhaps more dangerous than dehydration.

Drinking water sensibly throughout the day and drinking water after runs goes a long way to your body’s hydration needs

3: Begin your hydration days before a race (Or Hard Work out)

One way to minimize dehydration is to ensure that you begin a long run fully hydrated. In the days before a big race, it is a good idea to sip as much water as you can to keep your body topped up.

Drink 16-20 ounces about an hour before a workout. If you work out in the morning, then 10- 12 ounces should be sufficient.

4: Going Long – Carry Water with you

For runs over an hour and 15 minutes or really hot runs carry water and hydrate during the run. Consuming 10-20 ounces per hour should be about right.

5: Skip the Water on a 5K/10K

For the 5k and 10k distances you most likely don’t need to drink during the race.  You may want to drink especially if you have cotton mouth and that’s fine but for those distances as long as you are hydrated going in to the race you run very little risk of dehydration. 

For the half marathon and longer shoot for 10-15 ounces per hour depending on the temperature.  Drink as you feel inclined (drink to thirst).  For the half marathon and marathon, it’s as easy as drinking about half of a paper cup of water every mile or a full cup every two miles.  But don’t force yourself to drink too much. If you’re a heavy sweater, 20 ounces might be more like it. 

6: Avoid the Slosh, sip, don’t chug

While running a hard effort, your body will have a tough time absorbing too much water and it can leave it sloshing around in your tummy.  Sip, don’t chug before and during your run or race!

7: Practice drinking during your run

Drinking while racing is a skill that you need to practice during your training to make race day better and faster.  If you are in a race situation, consider these tips to maximize your drinking experience:

  1. Take water towards the back of the tables where less runners tend to go
  2. Point to the person you intend to take water from so they will be prepared to hand it to you
  3. Slow your run to a shuffle to make it easier to drink
  4. If it’s a paper cup pinch the top of the cup to make the opening smaller and easier to drink from
  5. Always take gels with water. When you see a water stop coming and plan to consume a gel go ahead and take the gel so you’re finishing it about the time you get to the water stop and then take your water
  6. Be sure to thank the volunteers and do your best to leave your trash in a trash can or close to the table.

8: On you, not in you, may yield better results

On a hot day, you should regulate your temperature by splashing water over yourself as well as by drinking. You may want to pour a cup of water over your head (and especially down the back of your neck), and if you are wearing a cap, make it wet to keep you cool. During the closing stages of a race – for example, during the last half an hour – cooling yourself this way may be more effective than drinking. It is also less likely to make you feel nauseous.

9: Post Race Drinking is very important

When you have finished running, you should aim to replenish the fluid you have lost.   After a long run, you should try to drink at least 16 ounces immediately, and then the rest in slower time.  You should want to urinate within a couple of hours of completing a long run and it should be clear slightly colored. If it looks like Mountain Dew then drink up!




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