Staying hydrated as you run is instrumental to getting the full health benefits of running. Keeping hydrated while you exercise helps you:
Prevent muscle strain and avoid injury
Maintain energy levels, endurance and stamina
Absorb key minerals
Replenish water lost during exercise
Some of these tips offer tastier alternatives to water to encourage you to drink more fluids before, during and after your runs. Other tips help you ensure you drink enough to keep you hydrated throughout your run.
1. Drink Before, During and After Your Run
It’s not enough to drink water before, during or after you run. To stay fully hydrated, you need to drink water throughout all three of those stages: fueling yourself for your run, retaining hydration while you run and replacing lost water from your run.
Source: Lucky Business/ shutterstock.com
2. Drink Smaller Sips at Regular Intervals
When you flood your body with large amounts of water all at once, your body can’t absorb as much of it, therefore utilizing it less efficiently. This requires you to drink more just to achieve the same hydrating effects as if you drank smaller sips at regular intervals throughout your run. This gives your body time to absorb more of the water you drink and put it to more efficient use.
3. Drink a Hydrating Alternative
Maybe you’re simply bored with water. It’s not drinking itself or carrying a water bottle with you while you run that can be a hassle, but just swallowing down gulp after gulp of plain, tasteless water. If that’s the case, there are plenty of other drinks you can enjoy during your runs that will also help keep you hydrated.
Sparkling water, club soda or diet tonic water - Add carbonation without adding calories; throw in a few lemon wedges, orange slices or berries for added flavor.
Homemade iced tea - Choose your favorite herbal brew (caffeine is dehydrating) and limit any sweetener you may add (also dehydrating); avoid store-bought iced tea because of all the extra dehydrating ingredients they contain
Homemade lemonade or limeade - Again, avoid store-bought options because of all their added ingredients, including an excess of sugar; make your own and limit the sugar or use a low-calorie sugar alternative.
Diet beverages - Many low-calorie, "nonnutritive" sweeteners have received FDA approval for their safety, and research has found they help with weight control and don’t "trick the brain to crave more sweets.
Iced coffee - It may not be the most hydrating beverage in the world, but it’s better than nothing. The amount of water in coffee helps offset some of caffeine's dehydrating effects.
4. Make the Water More Flavorful
You can also improve the taste of water itself by using a water filter. By removing the impurities, a filter can help remove distasteful elements in the water and let its clean, fresh and refreshing flavor lessness come through.
If the flavorlessness is the problem (or part of it, at least), try adding some herbs like mint, basil or lavender or some vegetables like cucumber slices or ginger root.
You can, alternatively, add a flavored powder product like Keto Electrolyte Powder, Kool-Aid or Crystal Light.
Source: BGStock72/ shutterstock.com
5. Eat Fruit
Fruit is incredibly hydrating, not to mention that, like electrolyte powder, it’s also a great source of electrolytes to help power your run. Eating some fruit before you run can help energize you to start it off strong, and eating some during and after you run can help replenish water and electrolytes utilized during the run. And, because fruit’s low in carbs and fiber, it won’t fill up your belly.
6. Take Hydrating Capsules
Hydration capsules help you stay hydrated by fueling and replenishing your body with a balanced mix of key electrolytes that replenish the minerals in your body. These minerals help your body better absorb the water you drink while the water helps your body better absorb the minerals.
7. Measure Your Rate of Sweating
Measuring your sweat rate can help give you a good idea of how much water you need to drink during your run to stay hydrated. To do it:
Go on a test run of at least an hour, taking your weight before and after the run.
Subtract your weight after the run from your weight before the run to calculate how much body weight you lost over the course of the run.
Multiply this amount by 20, and then multiply the same amount of lost body weight by 24.
These two numbers you wind up with give you the approximate range of water in ounces you should drink during a run of that length. If you run half that time, cut the range in half; if you run twice that time, double it, and so on.
If you’re a well-trained or experienced runner, you can tend toward the lower end of the range. This is because your body will comparatively tend to sweat less as it’s grown more efficient at keeping itself cool. If you’re not as fit or experienced a runner, your body will likely be less efficient at cooling you, causing you to sweat more and, therefore, requiring you to drink more; for this reason, you would do best to drink closer to the higher end of the range.
In addition, regardless of running experience or current level of fitness, certain factors will also influence how much you sweat while you run. This, in turn, will influence how dehydrated you get and, therefore, how much you’ll need to drink to stay hydrated. These factors include:
Body size and body mass index (BMI)
Duration of run
Intensity of running
You run, presumably, to stay healthy and fit. Maximizing that benefit requires staying hydrated throughout your run. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this more efficiently and effectively, so you can focus less on drinking water and more on running. Let KeyNutrients.com help you find the best options to keep you hydrated while you run.