Drinking when you’re thirsty may seem obvious but it’s also the most accurate way to monitor your fluid needs according to the International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA).
Maintaining proper hydration is absolutely essential for daily living and overall health. Our bodies are about 65% water and the water we consume optimizes blood pressure, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion.
While staying hydrated during a run is a given, specific fluid needs can vary greatly depending on the individual person, environmental conditions, and duration of activity. Every runner has a different sweat rate, body size, and speed and therefore everyone has different hydration requirements.
Dehydration can be dangerous and result in muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and fainting. Over-hydration (hyponatremia) can be just as bad and causes similar symptoms. It’s important to recognize and address these signs if they occur because dehydration and hyponatremia can do more than hurt your race performance, they can be life-threatening.
Tips for Proper Hydration:
- Pay attention to the color of your urine. If it's completely clear, you may be overhydrating. If it looks dark, like iced tea or apple juice, you're not drinking enough. An optimal lemonade-color is a sign of proper hydration.
- Use training runs to help determine your hydration needs on race day. You can determine your individual sweat rate by weighing yourself before and after a long run. If you gain any weight on a run, you're taking in too much fluid, but if you lose more than 2% of your body weight on a single run, you probably need to drink more. If you've only lost 1 to 2% of your body weight, you’re in the hydration sweet spot.
- Keep hydrated throughout the week. Drinking lots of water on the morning of a run won’t hydrate you properly and may cause hyponatremia.
- Most importantly – listen to your body! If you're thirsty or sweating buckets on a long run, go ahead and drink. But when you're not sweating heavily or just don't feel thirsty, pass by the next water stop.
- As with any physical activity, talk with a health professional, especially if you have any medical conditions or health concerns.
Whatever your hydration needs, Cleveland Water will be there for you with great tasting, refreshing H2O!