Tips For Runners On Staying Hydrated
Endurance athletes, especially those who train in hot and humid weather, are at constant risk of dehydration. The risk becomes greater the longer the workout, or when athletes train or compete more than once a day. Some risks include:
- Cramping. If exercisers lose too much fluid in sweating without replacing the lost fluid and electrolytes (like sodium and potassium), they risk becoming dehydrated. Endurance athletes can use sports drinks to replace fluid and electrolytes -- in combination with water -- to help ward off dehydration and muscle cramps.
- Dehydration. Dehydration can diminish energy and impair performance. Even a 2% loss of body weight through sweating (i.e., three pounds for a 150-pound runner) can put athletes at a disadvantage.
An easy way to determine how much fluid you need during a workout is to notice how sweat-soaked you are afterward. Read the tips below so that you can perform at your best, but stay safe.
- If sweating is light (your skin is moist and a little sweat is visible around your collar), drink 4-6 ounces every 15 minutes.
- If sweating is moderate (your skin and clothes are noticeably wet), drink 8-12 ounces every 15 minutes.
- If sweating is heavy (your skin, clothes and hair are completely drenched), drink 13–16 ounces every 15 minutes.
- Because endurance events last longer than most sports, endurance athletes run a higher risk of over hydrating, so be prepared with a hydration plan. Remember to take fluids throughout the day. It is important for endurance athletes to begin workouts and competitions hydrated. Hydration does not occur during the event.
- Start out hydrated on the day of an endurance event by drinking a sports drink, then using fountains, coolers and other beverage opportunities as triggers for drinking throughout the day.
- Hydrate 2-3 hours before training and competitions. Aim for at least 16 ounces of fluid during this time and add another 8 ounces of fluids 10-20 minutes before the event.
- Drink to replace sweat, but do not over drink (see guidelines above). Endurance athletes, especially inexperienced runners who tend to run slowly and stop for more fluid breaks, risk over hydrating, which can lead to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia occurs when an athlete takes in too much fluid and the sodium level in their blood drops too low.
GMC's Gwinnett SportsRehab offers a comprehensive running rehabilitation program. Our certified physical therapists will work with you in the event of injury to get you back faster and arm you with the necessary tools to heal and prevent future injury.