The top five hydration tips for runners 1260x542

The top five hydration tips for runners

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Running is an intensive exercise that can deplete your body of fluids. Online weight loss coach Andrew Cate outlines five ways to keep you hydrated and performing at your best.

Running is an intensive exercise that can deplete your body of fluids. Online weight loss coach Andrew Cate outlines five ways to keep you hydrated and performing at your best.

1. Choose the right drink – There are a wide variety of beverages available, with plain water and sports drinks being the obvious two. The best choice will depend on your health and fitness goals, and the duration of your run. If your goal is to reduce body fat, stick with water. However, a small amount of sports water will be beneficial if you are running for over an hour. If your goal is to maximise performance, choose a sports drink for any run longer than 30 minutes. After each run, it is also important to replenish your depleted glucose stores with a sports drink.

2. Keep your drinks cold – Cold drinks help to lower your body temperature, and may be absorbed quicker by the stomach. They are also more appealing, which makes you more likely to consume them. To keep your drink cold, add ice, or freeze a half-filled bottle, and top it up with liquid just before you leave.

3. Take small sips during your run – When running, you lose fluids at the approximate rate of 1 litre per hour (although this can be significantly more in hot weather). Your body loses fluid gradually, so it makes sense to replace it gradually. Small and regular sips will also be more comfortable on your stomach, rather than large gulps that can “slosh” around. Aim to drink 100 – 200 ml every 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Drink before your run – Unlike people who play tennis or workout in gyms, runners don’t always have easy access to water. That’s why drinking fluids before exercise is just as important as drinking during or afterwards. Have a glass or two of water 15 – 30 minutes before your run to pre-hydrate. Experiment with different quantities and timings to find out what works best for your body, especially if you are training for an event.

5. Know the signs of dehydration - Early signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, tiredness, grogginess, nausea, and light-headedness. If these warning signs are ignored, more serious symptoms may develop, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Another simple gauge of hydration is the colour of your urine. If your urine is dark in colour, the chances are you are dehydrated (although some medications and supplements can darken urine). Make sure you know these signs and symptoms, and address any minor issues so they don’t turn into major ones.