For today’s Tuesdays on the Run, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and I are sharing tips on staying hydrated. In some parts of the country, summer is winding down but here in Florida we’re still looking at a couple of months of running in the heat and humidity. Staying hydrated is important any time of year but it’s a lot harder to replace the gallons of sweat lost when running in the heat.
- Start hydrating days before any long run or race.
- Avoid alcohol or keep it in moderation.
- Studies on the dehydrating effect of caffeine seem to be contradicting. Moderation is a good idea in any case.
- Carry around a big old water bottle with a goal of finishing at least 64 ounces by the end of the day. And know if you wait until bedtime you’ll pay for it with a midnight potty trip.
- Ideally, your urine will be pale (remember vitamins can darken it, so don’t freak out if that’s the case).
- Drink some water before your run, but don’t force it. You don’t want too many potty breaks during the run or that unpleasant sloshing feeling.
- If your run is more than an hour, try to include a beverage with electrolytes like Gatorade, Nuun or Cocogo. The electrolytes and carbohydrates help your body use the fluids more efficiently.
- Drink to thirst, a small cup of water or sports beverage every 20 minutes or so. Drink a little more if it’s very hot but don’t force it.
- If you start feeling the sloshing feeling, skip a water stop.
- While uncommon, hyponatremia (overhydration resulting in lack of minerals) is something to be aware of. Don’t push too much water on yourself, especially on any run that lasts several hours. Symptoms include disorientation, bloating and nausea and an inability to urinate. Include beverages with sodium and electrolytes to help prevent this dangerous (but rare!) condition. Again it’s all about balancing your water intake with sodium and other electrolytes.
- Drinking a recovery beverage like chocolate milk is a great way to refuel and rehydrate after a long run.
- Keep drinking to thirst.
- Keep an eye on your urine, again it should be light colored and fairly frequent. If it’s been six hours you probably need to drink more!
- In the summer, I tend to have a lot of trouble rehydrating after a run. I get really tired and have a nagging headache until I manage to get enough fluids in. Because I try to avoid sugar, I think it’s harder for my body to hold onto the water after a long hot run.
Overall, find something you like to drink that fits your nutrition plan and make sure it’s convenient to drink it. I keep a filled pitcher of water in my office so it’s easy for me to keep my water bottle full throughout the day. I’m not very good at staying properly hydrated so I’m excited to get tips from my fellow bloggers!