When & How to Hydrate While You Run

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If you have been running the last few weeks, you’ll realize how hot it’s become! As we head into the summer months, it’s essential to adjust training, and that includes hydration.

Many of us don’t drink enough water, and we quickly find out later during a run or race. Heck, most training plans don’t even include how much water to drink.

What is the importance of staying hydrated?

Water plays a crucial role in our health outside of running. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues. Waters helps to regulate body temperature. As most of us know, we lose water through sweating! Especially in the summer! What of the most important components of summer training is to rehydrate.

So what are a few things water does?

  • It reduces the impact of toxins via the kidneys
  • Carries vital nutrients
  • Regulates body temperature skin

Did you know most people lose about half a liter of water each day by sweating? This doesn’t even include exercise!

How much water do runners require?

Like most things in the sport, every person requires a different amount. The amount each person needs is dependent on several factors including:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Metabolic rate
  • Speed and effort for which they are running

When should you hydrate?

The better question is when shouldn’t you hydrate? To stay hydrated, it’s important to drink water incrementally throughout the day.

This includes before, during, and after your workout. Once you become thirsty during a run, it is too late, and you’re already in a deficit. Try to make hydration a constant process.

Many people believe they should hydrate more before a race but this isn’t the truth. If you are consistently training through the summer, you should also be consistently hydrating. Staying hydrated during training runs is equally as important.

Many of us have been guilty for not carrying water during a training run (yes I’ve been there!). If holding something bothers you find somewhere to stash your water bottle or run loops near a water source. If you are running for more than 45 minutes, hydration is necessary.

Can you drink too much water?

Yes, however unlikely, hyponatremia is a real condition.

Hyponatremia can be a deadly condition. In short, the body and blood sodium contents become diluted. This happens when you drink too much water too quickly instead of that same amount throughout the day.

How are you supposed to even carry water?

When I realized the importance of water, I was overwhelmed of how even to carry it. If carrying is an issue for you, choose a route that loops by your house or car. That way you can grab water.

Another option is to stash water somewhere. For safety reasons, this isn’t my first choice, but it is a choice. Just make sure to pick up anything you have left.

However, there are plenty of new options from handheld bottles to backpacks and even fanny packs. Chose what works for you!

Don’t let dehydration be the reason the race doesn’t go as planned. With proper planning and gear, you can run well in the heat! Plus you’ll be shocked by the amount of energy you have.

Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

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