We know it’s important to stay hydrated to run your best, especially in the summer. “Being more than two percent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance,” says Robert W. Kenefick, Ph.D., a physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. To keep fluids handy, you probably stash a water bottle in a gym bag or leave sports drink in your car. But to really improve performance, you need to be more than a casual sipper. A number of recent studies offer runners smarter ways to stay hydrated while also giving their running a boost. Here’s how you can apply some of these strategies to your own hydration plan and run your best all summer long.
PRE-HYDRATE TO RUN FAST
WHY In a study in the April 2010 Journal of Athletic Training, runners who started a 12-K race dehydrated, finished about two and a half minutes slower compared to when they ran it hydrated. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.
DRINK UP Have a drink one to two hours before a run. Sports drinks and water are good choices. Didn’t plan ahead? Fifteen to 30 minutes before going out, drink at least a glass.
GO COLD FOR LONGER RUNS
WHY In a recent study, cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their workout exercised nearly 12 minutes longer than those who drank warm beverages. And in a study published this year, runners who had an ice slushy ran about 10 minutes longer than when they had a cold drink. In both cases, the drink that was colder lowered body temperature and perceived effort, allowing particular
participants to exercise longer.
DRINK UP Before going for a hot run, have a slushy made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink. To keep drinks chilled while you run, fill a bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with fluid before starting. Running a loop? Stash bottles in a cooler along your route.
STAY ON SCHEDULE
WHY When cyclists recorded their plan for hydrating during workouts—including exact times and amounts—they drank more frequently and consumed more fluid midworkout than their nonplanning peers. Planning helps people remember how much and when they need to drink.
DRINK UP Note your thirst during your runs, and write down how offen and how much you drink. Review your notes to help you plan when to drink. Set your watch to beep every 15 minutes as a reminder to consider your thirst. Drinking smaller amounts at regular intervals can help you absorb fluid more effectively and avoid stomach sloshing.
JUST HAVE A SIP
WHY Don’t feel like downing a gallon of Gatorade? You don’t have to. According to a study , runners who rinsed their mouths with a carb solution right before and every 15 minutes during hour-long treadmill sessions ran faster and about 200 meters farther than those who rinsed with a placebo. Carbs trigger reward centers in the brain.
DRINK UP For shorter runs when you want the benefits of a sports drink minus the extra calories, swishing just might do the trick. It’s also good news for runners who get queasy from ingesting a lot of sugar at once. But for runs over an hour, find a drink you can stand to swallow.
For more information on your running and dehydration, please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Dehydration is something that we cover during our Certificate III and IV in Fitness