Drink Up Before You Run Yourself Down: 5 Tips for Running Hydration
Preventing dehydration while running is hard. If you’re running long distances or running in hot temperatures, it’s very easy to become dehydrated, and that not only can hurt your immediate performance, but it also can hurt you in the long run (pun intended).
It may seem impossible to keep the juices flowing while running, but what many don’t realize is that they don’t have to keep a water bottle in their hands to keep their H2O levels up. Here are a couple of tips and tricks seasoned runners know that allow them to stay hydrated during their longer runs and not worry about suffering the effects of dehydration afterward. With this advice, you’ll be race ready in no time.
1. Hydrate before your run
Here’s an important technique to staying hydrated that many new runners, and even veteran runners, don’t practice. Everyone drinks water after they run, but it’s also imperative that you drink water before you run, too, to prep your body for the loss in water it’s about to face. Runner’s World advises that you drink eight to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run — sports drinks are OK, too, as long as they’re paired with water. Stop drinking after about 16 ounces, so as to avoid extra fluids and extra bathroom trips, and then drink another four to eight ounces right before you start. That way, you’ll be well hydrated before your run, but you won’t have an excess of water rumbling around in your stomach.
Still not convinced that pre-run hydration is important? Runner’s World reported on a 2010 study conducted by the Journal of Athletic Training that found that runners who started a 12K race dehydrated on an 80-degree day finished about two-and-a-half minutes slower compared to when they ran it hydrated. That is because dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which in turn lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat, forcing your heart to beat faster and making it harder for your body to meet aerobic demands.
Case in point: Drink a water bottle or two before you set out to run. A little training prep goes a long way.