The right amount of hydration can make a good run even better, but not drinking enough water can be uncomfortable — and dangerous. Here are seven hydration rules to follow, for both short and long runs.
- Pay attention to your water intake the day before your run. Drinking enough water every day helps keep your cells hydrated so you don't start off a run dehydrated, which can lead to cramping, fatigue, and a high heart rate.
- If your run is an hour or less, then you may not need to bring along a water bottle unless the temperature or humidity is high. Make sure you're well hydrated before your run so you can leave the bottle at home. While this is a rule of thumb, if you find that you are thirsty during your runs, bring along a bottle!
- Hydration is extremely important when you're out on a long run, but you don't need to drink as much as you're losing in sweat, says running coach Matt Fitzgerald. "Go ahead and trust your body's signals. That way you'll get as much fluid as your body can actually use, and you won't increase the risk of having your whole run ruined by GI distress," he says.
- Make sure you have a water plan before you head out on runs that are longer than an hour. Sick of carrying a water bottle with you? Stash it somewhere along your route beforehand, or run a loop so you can leave your water bottle at a designated spot.
- If you're running a race and you don't want to have to wait in the Porta Potty line right when your race starts, then drink only 15-20 ounces in the morning (after you've already used the bathroom once).
- If you're working out for more than an hour outside in the heat, then sip on a sports drink instead of just water. Electrolytes will give you more energy and will keep you more hydrated than water alone. We love no-sugar Nuun electrolyte tabs — just drop one into your water bottle and go!
- Once you're done with your run, make sure you rehydrate and continue drinking water throughout the day.