How To Hydrate For The Run

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Runner Hydrating


Runners know it's important to stay hydrated to run their best, especially in the summer. Being more than two percent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance. To keep fluids handy, you probably stash a water bottle in a gym bag or leave sports drink in your car. But to really improve performance, you need to be more than a casual sipper. A number of recent studies offer runners smarter ways to stay hydrated while also giving their running a boost.

Runners almost never experience dehydration levels sufficient to cause major health consequences. But normal levels of dehydration will make you feel uncomfortable and cause you to slow down.

n the past, athletes were encouraged to drink as much as possible during exercise, or at least to drink enough to completely offset dehydration (that is, to drink enough to prevent any decrease in body weight during exercise). However, it is now understood that this is bad advice.

Here's how you can apply some of the newer strategies to your own hydration plan and run your best all summer long.



In a study in the April 2010 Journal of Athletic Training, runners who started a half marathon race dehydrated on an 80-degree day finished about two and a half minutes slower compared to when they ran it hydrated.   Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body's ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.

Drink 8 to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run.  Sports drinks and water are great choices. Didn't plan ahead?     15 to 30 minutes before you run, drink at least 4 to 8 ounces of fluid.  Use plain water in your easier and short runs.



Runners and cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their long workouts exercised nearly 14 minutes longer than those who drank warmer beverages.  The cold drink lowers the body temperature allowing participants to exercise longer.

Before going for a hot run, make a slushy drink made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink.   In order to keep drinks chilled while you are on the run, fill your bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with your favorite fluid before starting.

How To Hydrate For The RunUse the sports drink for your faster and longer workouts.   Sports drinks are the preferred choice for longer runs since they offer a couple of advantages.   Specifically, sports drinks replace some of the sodium and other minerals that your body loses in sweat along with water.   In addition, sports drinks provide an extra energy source for your working muscles in the form of electrolytes and
carbohydrates.   Modern research has shown that sports drinks enhance performance significantly more than plain water in high-intensity and long-duration runs and races.

To maximize your running performance for the long runs, having a mixture of both water and sports drink stashed in your fluid belt is an excellent choice.



Note your thirst during your long runs, and write down how often and how much you drink.  Review your notes to help you plan when to drink.  Set your watch to beep every 15 minutes as a reminder to consider your thirst.  Drinking smaller amounts at regular intervals can help you absorb fluid more effectively.



Replace fluids, drinking enough so you have to use the bathroom within 60 to 90 minutes postrun. Usually eight to 24 ounces is fine, but it varies based on running conditions.




Which hydration steps work the best for you?


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