5 Tips to Help you Get Hydrated
Water is life. Over 60% of your body is made of the stuff, and about 70% of the earth is covered by it. As runners, we need more of it than the average person. Instead of an in-depth scientific study, I thought I’d share a few practical tips about making sure you stay hydrated this summer – at whatever level is right for you.
How much Water do You Need?
Runners need more than eight glasses a day. How much more will vary depending on your age, gender, sweat rate, outdoor temperature, intensity and training distance. I found websites suggesting ranges anywhere from .35 – 1.5 oz times your body weight. So a 150 pound runner would need anywhere from 52 – 225 oz per day.
Don’t obsess about getting it perfect. Figuring out your sweat rate is really the best way, but as long as you’re following the 5 tips below, you should be ok.
5 Tips to Help you Get Hydrated
Here are 5 simple tips to make sure you stay hydrated as you train this summer.
1. Drink first thing in the Morning
As soon as you get up, drink a glass of water. Doing this first thing in the morning helps you replace the fluids lost while you slept. It’s also a great way to prep your system before heading out on your morning run. Wait at least 30 minutes for it to settle before you run.
2. Drink All Day
In order to maintain proper hydration levels, make sure you’re sipping water all day. My goal is to finish one 24 oz Nalgene before lunch and one more before I go home (I work a 9 – 5 job). That doesn’t include beverages at meals, coffee, or fluids taken in from food.
3. Drink when you’re Thirsty
More and more research suggests to simply drink when you’re thirsty. It’s been noted that 13% of marathon finishers are overdosing on water (a condition called hyponatremia). Don’t force it. On long runs, I’ve found that 2 oz every mile works well – under mild temperatures (65 – 70 degrees). When it gets to be 80+ with high humidity, I may double that.
4. Carry Water with You
On runs longer than 60 minutes, carry your beverage. How? Use a hydration backpack, waist pack or handheld bottle. I’ve used all three. I recently purchased a handheld bottle from Mill City Running and it’s my favorite. It has a nifty wrist/thumb attachment so it doesn’t feel like I’m carrying it. No slipping or bouncing either.
5. Monitor your Urine
Pee is a good indicator of hydration. If it’s crystal clear, you’re drinking too much. If it looks like coffee… stop reading this and see a doctor! Lemonade is ideal. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
The color of the first morning’s urine void after awakening is an overall indicator of hydration status. Straw or lemonade colored urine is a sign of appropriate hydration. Dark colored urine, the color of apple juice, indicates dehydration. Dark urine is often produced soon after consuming vitamin supplements.
Although water is life, as a runner, you need to make sure you’re getting the proper amount of electrolytes too. In simplest terms, this includes sodium chloride and potassium that help your muscles fire. Make one of our homemade sports drinks and running recovery cocktails. There are also some great products out there by nuun.
What’s your best tip for ensuring you’re hydrating properly?
Checkout Olympian Carrie Tollefson’s interview with Dr. Angie Voight to learn more about proper hydration.
Nathan currently lives in Portland, but works in Minneapolis and runs wherever he is. Favorite Minnesota running route is anything that takes him along the Mississippi River.
Nathan's day job is as a senior consultant with Leadership Vision Consulting in Downtown Minneapolis.