Proper hydration is one of the keys to feeling and performing your best while running.
Staying hydrated on a regular basis is important for overall health. The human body is about 60% water and the water we consume optimizes blood pressure, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion.
Hydration is particularly important during physical activity, like running. But determining what appropriate hydration is can be tricky.
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 different hydration requirements.
In addition, both drinking too little and drinking too much can be dangerous. Dehydration can 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.
The easiest way to make sure you're hydrated is also the most obvious: drink when you're thirsty! Listen to your body. If you're thirsty or sweating buckets on a long run, then drink up. But if you're not sweating heavily or you just don't feel thirsty, go ahead and pass by the next water stop.
Here are some other helpful hydration tips:
- 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.
- Regular, steady hydration is important to feel and perform your best on race day. Drink water throughout the week, even if you’re not running or working out. And be sure to drink water before, during, and after a run. Drinking lots of water all at once won’t hydrate you properly and may leave you over-hydrated.
- 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. A lemonade color is a sign of proper hydration.
- Stay hydrated with a reusable bottle filled with tap to do both your wallet and the environment a favor. A 16 oz. bottle of water costs around $1.50. That same $1.50 will get you 300 gallons of Cleveland tap water! Plus, the production and transportation of plastic bottles and packaging is a drain on resources and most plastic water bottles are disposed of improperly, contributing to plastic pollution.
As with any physical activity, talk with a health professional about what's best for you, especially if you have any medical conditions or health concerns.
Whatever your hydration needs, Cleveland Water is there for you with great tasting, refreshing H2O!