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Staying well hydrated is important to everyone, but to runners it is VITAL! It can impair our performance so it is important to stay hydrated. Water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating  joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body. You should always be drinking water or a sports drink through out the day, especially if you are heading out for a run. It is tough for one to determine how much water you should drink because we all “sweat” a little differently when we run. For example, I don’t really sweat when I run but my alpha looks like he went swimming especially in the summer time! But there are ways to know if you are well hydrated by looking at the color of your urine. Mostly light-colored, diluted urine would mean you are hydrated; dark-colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated. so go drink some water ASAP!

Doesn't it look refreshing??
Doesn’t it look refreshing??

Try to calculate your “sweat rate” to determine how much fluid you need during a run. You can do this by weighing yourself before a 1-hour run and weighing yourself again after the run. Note the temperature, the speed you ran and weight you lost. Use the corresponding weight loss to determine how many ounces of fluid you need for your intervals in those conditions.

Drink eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. If you are pressed for time, 15 to 30 minutes before going out, drink at least four to eight ounces of fluid. For a tough run over 30 minutes, consider a sports drink to give you a kick of energy at the end.

A healthy fluid intake helps runners to avoid suffering dehydration and heat exhaustion. It also limits the chance of developing muscle cramps or other similar injuries and promotes optimal performance. Side stitches or cramps, are often caused by lack of hydration.The signs for dehydration are increase in thirst, headache, nausea, and dizziness. If you have these symptoms make sure to seek shade and drink something immediately.

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 In a study published in 2008 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their workout exercised nearly 12 minutes longer than those who drank warm beverages. And in a study published this year, runners who had an ice slushy ran about 10 minutes longer than when they had a cold drink. In both cases, the drink that was colder lowered body temperature and perceived effort, allowing participants to exercise longer. Before going for a hot run, have a slushy made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink. To keep drinks chilled while you run, fill a bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with fluid before starting.

Water is best to keep you well hydrated while running, but some need the extra kick (gels do that too) that Gatorade, Powerade or any other sport drink out there. My stomach can’t really handle all the sugar at once so I drink water mostly and eat a gel to give me the energy. If you are going for an extended run, drink a sports drink rich in electrolytes. It is important to do this throughout your run as electrolytes are lost through sweat. This will boost your energy levels and will help prevent muscle cramps.

After my run I drink a nice cold cup of coconut water. It it easier on my stomach than all that sugar from a sports drink. Either is fine and gives you the same thing…hydration. 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. Make sure you drink enough to restore what you lost. HYDRATION is very important, it keeps you healthy and safe from heat exhaustion. So make sure you ALWAYS drink throughout your run =) The Summer is near by and it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated in those hot months of training. Use these tips and you should avoid dehydration or a chance at a bad performance due to side cramps because of the lack of sodium…so get up now and DRINK UP!!

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