Runners' Ultimate Guide to Hydration
Biggest Sports Drink Mistakes
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Sports drinks are great—when training. When not training at present or in the immediate future or past (within an hour), they are simply nothing more than sugar and sodium-loaded drinks. Similar to a sugar-based soda or candy, there's really nothing in them your body needs when you're sitting at your desk or on the couch. They have exactly what your body can use when you're engaging in physical stress and exercise.
Why Salt Is Key to Proper Hydration
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If race day temperatures will be hot, with high humidity, and you typically sweat heavily, you should hydrate with sports drinks that contain electrolytes during the event. If you normally avoid eating salty processed foods and snack foods, you could add some salt temporarily ahead of race day. You don't need large amounts of sodium. If you drink water during the race, but don't replace the lost sodium, hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, can be the unwelcome result.
Electrolytes and When to Replace Them
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Got cramps? Katie Jeffrey, a registered dietitian, says a deficiency in certain electrolytes, combined with dehydration contributes to cramps. "If you know you sweat heavily, run in hot temperatures or heavily-layered in cold temps, or if you run longer than one hour, start consuming a sodium-enhanced sports drink or tab an hour before your run, and then every 10 to 20 minutes throughout your run, depending on how heavily you sweat."
Sports Drinks for Distance Runners
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"I no longer advise runners to use a sports drink during all of their training runs lasting an hour or longer. Why not? Because I have learned that the benefits of using a sports drink come at a cost. Yes, sports drinks boost performance in longer races and workouts. But scientists have discovered that they also function as a sort of metabolic crutch." —Matt Fitzgerald
Popular Sports Beverages Evaluated
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A mere two percent loss of body weight via sweat can lead to a decline in performance. It's hard to believe that 20 years ago there was one option: Gatorade. Today, the everyday athlete is inundated with choices. In addition, the claims made about the effects of each product on performance can bring out the skeptic in anyone who has tried multiple products. Get the skinny on five popular sports beverage options.
What to Drink, How Much and How Often
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For the average workout of 60 minutes or less, you typically won't need anything more than water. If you're going longer than an hour, or it's hot and humid outside, then you may need the extra calories and electrolytes that sports drinks provide. Each individual has different needs based on weight, sweat rate and how hard you're working. Find out what you need to know to stay hydrated.
The Best Long-Run Hydration Habits
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As an athlete completing runs longer than 90 minutes in duration, hydration needs to be part of how you live your day-to-day life.?Odds are, you are running five or more times a week. This means that at any given point in time you are likely less than 12 hours away from your next run. It's helpful to break your hydration activities into distinct phases. This will make it easier to focus. Here are three key phases to consider: before, during and after your workout.
How Much Fluid Do You Need Before 26.2M?
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Our bodies have minimal capacity to store extra fluid. Any fluid you take in beyond the amount that is required to attain "euhydration" (normal hydration) will go straight to your bladder. Unless you have become severely dehydrated the day and night before your race, you will not need much fluid to attain euhydration on race morning. Twelve to 16 ounces consumed between the time you wake up and one hour before the start of your race should do the trick.
Why You Should Measure Your Sweat Loss
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A great way to monitor hydration is through the color and quantity of your urine. In marathon training and endurance sports, it is important to pay special attention to your sweat loss. Your rate of sweat loss is individual and influenced by factors such as age, temperature, genetics, gender, and fitness level. In order to know how much sweat you lose during exercise, weigh yourself nude one hour before exercise and then again right after.
Hydration Facts for Runners
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No scientific evidence supports the "eight glasses per day" rule, so you can simply drink in response to thirst. You can also monitor the volume of your urine. If your urine is scanty, dark, and smelly, you should drink more. If you have not urinated during your work or school day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you are severely under-hydrated. Check out the other 14 tips.
Common Pre-Race Blunders
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A well-hydrated runner is more alert, stays cooler, and needs less ?uids during a race. But many runners love their beer and coffee. When it comes to an important race, do right by yourself and replace some of that beer and coffee with water. Don't just dump two 20-oz. bottles of Gatorade down your throat 10 minutes before you hit the starting line. Concentrate on staying hydrated for one or two days before the race, to ensure your body is ready.