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How To Stay Hydrated During A Long Run

Posted on July 11 2013

With the Utica Boilermaker right around the corner, we wanted to share some tips and tricks on how to stay hydrated during a long run like the big race this year!

 

1. Don’t get behind on your fluids in the first place

Just like there are many ways to take in fluids (such as water, sports drinks and water containing foods), there are also many different ways to determine adequate hydration. Surprisingly - and for free - you can check approximate hydration from the comfort of your own bathroom! Simply note the color and volume of your urine. If it’s dark colored and in small volume you are probably dehydrated.

2. Hydrate before heading out

Before heading out for your run, drink approximately 1 oz for every 10 pounds of body weight about 4 hours before running. If you are going to sweat profusely while running, drink 0.6 oz per every 10 pounds of body weight 2 hours before your run. Don’t forget to give yourself time to use the bathroom before you head out!

3. Make a game plan

Although some experts would recommend you stay hydrated by just drinking when you are thirsty, others suggest developing a customized plan by performing a sweat test. To help you stay better hydrated during long, hot runs you should perform a sweat test to determine your fluid needs. Weigh yourself before and after exercise. Your weight loss corresponds with fluid loss, so try to drink enough to replenish that weight. If weight is gained then that could mean you are drinking more than you actually need.

4. Cut your losses

Electrolytes are lost in both sweat and urine. Some athletes lose a lot of electrolytes while others don’t and some lose more than others. As shown in the table below, sodium and chloride are lost in larger amounts than potassium, magnesium and calcium. The values listed represent the amount of electrolytes contained in one liter of sweat

Mineral                                                           Concentration in Swat (mg/L of sweat)

Sodium                                                                 460-1840

Chloride                                                               710-2840

Potassium                                                            160-390

Magnesium                                                          0-36

Calcium                                                                0-120

5. Replace sweat losses during your run

If you replace the sweat losses during the run, you will better optimize cardiovascular, thermoregulatory and performance responses. To help determine how much fluid you need each hour, use your sweat test. If you’re going for a leisurely run or a run that lasts less than an hour, you can easily stay hydrated with water every few miles. If you happen to be a salt sweater, cramp-prone or plan on running for longer than an hour, try adding some electrolytes to your water. If you are going on a long, taxing run - like the Boilermaker - you might want to try to opt for carbohydrate-containing sports drinks rather than just water and electrolytes alone.

 

Oh, and one more thing!

During the boilermaker, Mountainside Medical Equipment will be handing out water to the runners and proudly cheering them on! Be sure to grab a cup of water as you run by and stay hydrated during the race!

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