One of the most important things for a runner to do is to stay properly hydrated. In addition to helping your running, it also helps to prevent many heat-related illnesses. These include muscle cramping, heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Here are some tips to make sure that you are staying hydrated.
If you have a long run or race planned, you need to start hydrating a few days before. Check the color of your urine to see if you are drinking enough. It should be almost clear or pale yellow. If it is not, you need to be drinking more water.
The morning of your run or race, drink about 16-20 ounces of water about an hour before. At that point, you need to stop drinking so that you don't have to make a "pit stop" during your workout or race. Right before you start, though, drink about 4 ounces to make sure you are hydrated to start.
During your long run, a good rule of thumb is to drink 4 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes. If I'm running for more than an hour and a half, I'll make one of my water stops one with a sports drink like Gatorade. This will replace the electrolytes that you will be losing and help get you through the rest of your run.
I don't like to carry anything with me when I run - but if you do there are many different kinds of water bottle holders that you can use. I plan my runs to go by places where I know there are water fountains (like parks) and I'll carry a couple of gold dollar pieces with me to get my water or Gatorade. (I hate to give someone a soggy dollar - so a gold dollar piece works great!)
After your run, make sure that you drink 16-24 ounces of water or sports drink to rehydrate. I like to have a bottle of water ready when I come in from my run. I take it with me and do a cool down walk while I am rehydrating. Remember the urine rule. If your urine is dark yellow, you need to keep drinking until it's clear or light.
Another thing to remember is that just because the weather may be cooler, you still need to stay hydrated. You are still heating up and losing fluids through your sweat. Also, if it is windy and cooler, it will dry up your sweat - which actually will increase dehydration. So, make sure that you are still drinking enough water during those days.
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