An Introduction to Hydration for Runners

An Introduction to Hydration for Runners

As a runner, maintaining hydration is vital, not only for your health but also for your performance.Water comprised 70 percent of the human body, which plays a crucial role in your overall health and well-being. Water is what regulates your body temperature, removes waste materials, cushions the joints, and directs energy to your cells. Proper hydration can improve your recovery rate, reduce the risk of injury, minimize cramping, and boost your performance.

When you run, your body produces 20 times more heat than when you are at rest. To avoid overheating, the body sweats to cool itself off, a vital metabolic process; however, sweating also depletes hydration and reduces electrolytes. To avoid becoming dehydrated and all of the adverse health effects associated with the condition, let's take a look a some pointers that will allow you to keep yourself properly hydrated.


How Much and When to Drink

The amount of water you should drink will change based on the length of time you will be running and how much you will be sweating. However, with that said, here's a look at some basic guidelines for a 45-minute running session.


  • Pre-hydrate. About two hours before you head out for a run, make sure that you properly hydrate yourself. It's recommended that you drink about 17 to 20 fluid ounces. Make sure you drink far enough in advance of your run so that your body can absorb the benefits of hydration and prevent your stomach from being too full (running on a stomach that's overloaded with fluid isn't very fun).
  • Maintain hydration. While you’re running, make sure that you stop to take hydration breaks. It’s recommended that you sip on about 5 to 10 fluid ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes or so while you’re running.


  • Post-hydrate. After your run, ensure that you get your fluid levels back up to standard to aid in your recovery. For each pound of water that you lose while you're running, you should drink between 16 to 24 fluid ounces of water to rehydrate.



If you're planning on a short run – 45 minutes or less – you may be able to skip over-drinking during your workout; however, it's never a bad idea to bring water along with you, mainly if it's super-hot outside and you're going to be sweating a lot.

Tips for Proper Hydration

To ensure you stay adequately hydrated, here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Set a timer. While running, it's easy to lose track of time and the last time you took a drink. Maybe you want to set an alarm to go off every 20 minutes or so to remind yourself to stop and take a drink.
  • Make sure fluids are available. Whether it's a handheld bottle, a waist belt, or a hydration backpack or vest, make sure that water is always easy to access. You don't stop running to take a drink; instead, slow down your speed.



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