The Best Ways to Hydrate on the Run

runner with hydration pack

If you're new to hot weather running (or running long in general), you're probably here to find answers about hydration. When it's hot or you're running over an hour, it's super important to drink during your run. That can mean carrying a handheld bottle or running short loops so you can hit up a water fountain (or your car) to rehydrate. A lot of it comes down to personal preference: What are your running routes like? Does carrying stuff while running really irk you? We have some tips, so hopefully you'll find a solution that works on your next run!

What to Drink

Water is a fine choice if you're running shorter distances or also consuming fuel (gels, chews, etc.), but if you're sweating heavily, consider an electrolyte replacement, such as Gatorade or Nuun. If you want some carbohydrates with your electrolytes, Tailwind Nutrition, Gnarly Fuel and Maurten are favorites among endurance athletes. Your stomach's perfect combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates might take some time to figure out, so be sure to practice on hard workout days and easy miles equally. Sometimes what feels good on a slow long run might not work during a 10K race.

If you want to try your hand at a homemade electrolyte drink, it's pretty easy to make your own. Here's a starter recipe, but feel free to adjust the ingredients to your own liking.

DIY Electrolyte Drink

Makes two servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain salt (use a little more if you sweat heavily) 
  • 3 cups of coconut water (or regular water)

Directions

 Combine juices, honey/maple syrup and salt in a large measuring cup. Slowly add in coconut water and chill until ready to drink!

How to Drink It

If you can plan a route that features water fountains or run loops past your house, you can probably get away without carrying anything. But if your miles take you farther afield, it's a good idea to plan how you'll access your hydration.

You could of course use a disposable water bottle and toss it when you're done, but if you want something a bit more agronomical (and sustainable), the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld gets good reviews from runners. Its 20-oz size is bigger than most handheld bottles, but its ergonomic design allows your hand to relax (no more cramping), and it has an adjustable strap for a customized fit. And bonus: The bottle is made of BPA-free material.

If you like to keep your hands free, consider a running vest and bladder combination like Nathan's Pinnacle Vest. This vest is 20% lighter and more breathable than the brand's other popular vests (the Howe and Krar). It also features a total of 13 (!) exterior pockets, including two water resistant chest pockets for your phone. It has a 1.6-liter bladder and wicking panels that will keep your skin dry and chafe-free.

Proper hydration (like most things) will take some practice, but with a little planning and the right gear, your runs will feel good no matter the weather.

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