Water is as essential to a workout as having the right clothing. If you don’t drink enough, you can easily become dehydrated.
Dehydration can lead to all sorts of problems. These include fatigue, muscle cramps, and even heat stroke.
Whether you’re a new runner or getting back into exercise, it’s essential to know the signs of dehydration and what can cause it.
We’ll go over what to avoid, what to do when dehydration hits, and tips for how to stay hydrated in running.
Drink Plenty of Water Before a Run
Prepare for runs by drinking plenty of water in the hours leading up to your workout. Doing so will help ensure that you’re hydrated before you even get active.
On an average day, you should drink around eight glasses of water. However, you may need to drink more if you’re running in hot weather or doing strenuous exercise.
Keep in mind that other beverages, such as soda, can actually dehydrate you. So, be sure to offset the effects of these drinks by consuming even more water.
Since dehydration is often the cause of muscle cramping, staying hydrated will also protect you from unwelcome physical discomfort.
Carry a Water Bottle With You on Your Run
It’s important to have access to fluids while you’re running. That’s why it’s a good idea to always carry a water bottle with you.
If that isn’t something you want to do, consider investing in a running belt or hydration pack. These devices allow you to bring water with you without having to hold onto anything. I consider it as the best solution to how to stay hydrated in running.
Wear a Hat and Sunscreen
If you’re going to be running outdoors, try to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat to shield your head and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally all over your body, especially on your face, neck, arms, and legs.
Ideally, it’s best to run in the shade. It will help you stay cooler and keep you away from direct sunlight.
Take Breaks If You Start To Feel Lightheaded or Dizzy
If you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy while running, don’t hesitate to take a break. Stop wherever you are and sit down in the shade until you feel better. Once you’ve recovered, start slowly and gradually increase your pace.
Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol or Caffeine
Drinking alcohol before or after runs can seriously dehydrate you. Caffeine, meanwhile, can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. Both substances are best avoided if you want to stay hydrated during your running workouts.
Additionally, avoid sugary drinks like soda. Sugary drinks can cause an upset stomach and make you feel sluggish.
Drink Electrolyte-Rich Fluids
If you’ve been running for more than an hour, you’ll benefit from drinking some electrolyte-rich fluids.
Coconut water and Gatorade are both great options for rehydrating after a run. They contain potassium, sodium, and other minerals that can help replenish the nutrients you lose while running. Replenishing these nutrients after exercise is essential for preventing muscle cramps and fatigue.
Alternatively, you could have an electrolyte replacement shake or supplement. These can help ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay hydrated.
Pace Yourself and Avoid Running in the Heat of the Day
It’s important to pace yourself when running. If you try to do too much, you’ll quickly become dehydrated. Use technology to help you track your pace and distance so that you can make sure you’re not going too fast.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid running in the heat of the day. The hottest hours are typically between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you must run during these hours, be sure to take extra precautions to stay hydrated.
Measure Your Sweat Rate
You can measure your sweat rate to get a better idea of how much fluid you need to consume while running.
To do this, weigh yourself before and after your run. Then, for every pound lost, drink 16 ounces of water. This will help ensure that you’re adequately hydrated and can avoid dehydration during your next run.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
It’s also important to wear the right clothing when running. Wicking materials, such as polyester or nylon, are ideal for keeping sweat away from your skin.
Avoid cotton clothing, as it will absorb sweat and make you feel cooler. Wearing lighter colors will also help reflect heat and keep you cool.
Continue Drinking Water When You’re Not Running
Even when you’re not running, drink plenty of water. This will help your body recover from your run and prevent dehydration.
How to Know If You’re Dehydrated
Understanding the signs of dehydration is critical to staying safe while going out for a run. If you know what to look for, you can take steps to avoid catastrophic health conditions, such as heat stroke.
There are a few signs that can indicate you’re dehydrated, including:
- Feeling thirsty
- Having a dry mouth
- Urinating less frequently
- Dark-colored urine
- Feeling tired
- Having muscle cramps
Other dehydration indicators are vomiting, diarrhea, and a rapid heart rate.
If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately stop, rest, and drink fluids.
Long-Term Dangers of Becoming Dehydrated
Dehydration can have long-term effects on your health if it’s not properly treated.
Chronic dehydration can lead to kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and constipation. It can also cause headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. In severe cases, dehydration can result in hospitalization.
Final Thoughts – How To Stay Hydrated in Running
Running can be one of the most accessible forms of exercise. Not only can it be done in just about any environment, but it also doesn’t need expensive equipment.
However, it does require preparation, particularly when it comes to ensuring your health. Dehydration can be one of the main causes of physical discomfort and even injury.
Thankfully, it’s easy to prevent if you take the necessary precautions and know what signs of dehydration to look out for.
This is applicable whether you are intending your first easy run around the block, training for a 10k or attempting your first half marathon.
By following the tips above, you can make sure that you stay safe and hydrated during your next run.