We all know the importance of staying well hydrated throughout the day as it can vastly improve how you look, feel and perform. If you remember well, we have shortly talked about hydration few weeks ago in the article "ABC For a Great Recovery Strategy". Hydration comes down to drinking according to thirst so you do not under consume or overconsume throughout the day. The adage is you should drink half of a gallon of water per day (eight 8oz glasses) to stay properly hydrated.
This blog is going to cover dehydration and hyponatremia and how they both alter your body and athletic performance.
Dehydration impairs your running performance by causing your total blood volume to dip which then lowers your heat transfer ability thus causing an increase in heart rate. This can make it harder for your body to meet the demands you expect during exercise. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and nausea. Fluid replacement varies from the person and activity to the duration and the environment in which they’re exercising. In order to prevent yourself from dehydrating is to hydrate pre-run or activity.
You do not need to carry around a gallon jug of water all day to meet your hydration needs simply because it’s possible to drink too much and over-hydrate. Hyponatremia is when the sodium in your body becomes diluted and as we all know, sodium is vital for athletes and common amongst runners. Just like dehydration, hyponatremia symptoms come as dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness and nausea. The obvious way to tell the difference between the two is of course thirst comes with dehydration.
Throughout the day your water intake is more than you realize. Carry around a reusable water bottle and use while you work along with water during meals are adequate ways of hydration. Even foods such as cucumber, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, and celery are a few of many foods you can eat to hydrate.
During runs of an hour or less all you need is around 5-6oz per every 20 minutes. If you plan to run 2-4 hours, you should bring along a sports drink of your choice and take in 5-6oz every 15 minutes. Any run over 4 hours should include a sports drink and water taking drinks every 10 minutes and gauge your thirst level. Keep in mind the intensity and environment all vary on how much and how often you drink. Your post-run hydration should be around 24oz of a sports drink or water.
Avoiding soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are key to keeping your body hydrated because they pull water from your cells. If you drink water throughout the day, with meals, and eat hydrating foods you will feel, look and perform well. Drink according to your bodies thirst and hydrate while you run.
Let us know some tips and tricks you do to keep yourself hydrated!