By: Cory Eilers – Lone Star Footwear, LLC.
The summer months are coming to a close, but the heat in Texas blazes on. You’ve chosen your most breathable tank and picked the opportune time to run (definitely in the morning), but have you thought about your hydration today?
Hydration is important for runners in every season, but we tend to lose a lot more water through sweat in the summer heat. It can be hard to stay on top of hydrating enough – especially on long runs.
So what do we do about it? Before we dive in, let’s go through some symptoms of dehydration so you are able to spot them during your runs:
- Feeling thirsty – which you may see as a “duh” moment, but if you are feeling thirsty, it usually means you are already dehydrated (ugh)
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Dry mouth or dry eyes
- Cramps or muscle spasms
- GI distress
Our bodies are 60% water which means that water is crucial for the proper function of our body systems. Losing water without adequately replacing it (dehydration) takes a toll on those systems. For instance, your heart has to work overtime to pump blood to the areas of the body that need fuel. The more dehydrated you are = the harder it is to regulate body temperature.
So let’s answer our question: what do we do about it? Studies have shown that sticking to a hydration plan instead of just drinking when thirsty improves function and performance – and we avoid those pesky symptoms we spoke about above! Whether you are racing this summer or just going on daily runs, here are some tips to stay hydrated and stay cool all summer long:
- Hydrate early and often – waiting until the morning of your race (or your run) to hydrate is a no-no. Aim for 8-12 cups of liquid daily and consider adding electrolytes to encourage thirst and replenish those minerals and nutrients lost on runs.
- On race day, it is recommended to drink 1/10 of your body weight in ounces 2-3 hours before the starting gun (that’s 15 ounces for a 150 pound runner) to give your body time to absorb it without sloshing around during the race.
- If you don’t want to carry water during the race, take advantage of the water/aid stations. Drinking anywhere from 15-30 ounces per hour after the first 2-3 miles is the recommendation.
- After the race, aim for replacing what was lost. A combination of carbs, protein, and fluids (with electrolytes) aid in rehydration.
- Sip, don’t gulp. Think small and frequent for a steady flow to those hard working muscles.
- Invest in a vest (or a belt)! For shorter runs, a belt or handheld water bottle will hold around 20 ounces – perfect for those 1-2 hours runs. If you are going for 2+ hours, a vest is the right way to go. By finding a comfortable belt/vest/handheld, you are better able to carry what you need (before you need it!) and you can figure out what works for race day.
- Set a hydration reminder on your phone. By keeping this alarm at a continuous interval, you can stay ahead of the game and hydration can be one less thing to worry about.
Running with water is not always glamorous but it is necessary. Taking the time to experiment with water/liquids during your runs will leave you feeling refreshed and strong, not lethargic and thirsty. Being intentional about hydration, even on cooler/cloudy days, will help you conquer every mile and stay healthy every training session.
If you are not sure where to start with your hydration needs, we suggest going to see our friends at Lone Star Footwear. They carry everything from hydration tabs to vests as well as the latest gear to get you on your way to your best race ever. See them at their 3 local stores (Fort Worth, Plano or Southlake), or online at lonestarfootwear.com!