The physical demands of running require adequate hydration to avoid serious health problems. High temperatures increase the need for drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration when running. Recognizing the signs of dehydration allows you to remedy your condition before it grows worse. Pay attention to your body and drink before, during and after your run to avoid dehydration.
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The symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and dryness in the lips and mouth. You will also lose weight as you run if you become dehydrated. The symptoms are a warning sign that your body is in need of hydration immediately. Monitor your body closely during and after your run, watching for variations in the way your body feels that may indicate inadequate hydration.
Effects on Performance
Even minor dehydration can affect your performance during your run. In a race, this potentially means missing your goal finish time. During training runs, the effectiveness of the session is decreased when you can't perform to your full potential. You often feel less energy as your body becomes dehydrated so you aren't able to push yourself as you run. Instead of feeling energized and stronger at the end of the run, you are likely to feel fatigued. This affects your recovery and can affect the following day's run.
What to Drink
Water provides effective hydration for your body when running. It doesn't add any calories or unnecessary ingredients. For longer runs, a sports drink supplies the body with carbohydrates as a source of fuel. The sports drink also hydrates the body and replaces sodium that your body loses as you run. Avoid any beverages with alcohol before, during or after your run as they will contribute to dehydration.
To avoid dehydration, start drinking even before you head out for your run or start your race. You should drink water regularly throughout the day every day to keep your body well hydrated. Plan for about 1 to 2 cups of water about an hour before your run. During your run, drink between 4 and 8 ounces for every 15 minutes you exercise, to avoid dehydration. Continue drinking water to quench your thirst after your run is complete. One way to judge whether you are dehydrated is to weigh yourself before and after your run. Your weight should remain the same if you are properly hydrated.