5 Hydration Tips to Consider
"There's no 'one-size-fits-all' recommendation for hydration or rehydration for running or other sports," says Williams. That said, you can follow a few tips to build a hydration plan that works for you. Here are five strategies to keep in mind.
1. Start your run hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids — including water, sparkling water and unsweetened iced tea — prior to a run. In addition, eat a variety of water-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables or broth-based soups. "Twenty percent of our daily water intake comes from foods like watermelon, strawberries, grapes, cucumbers, red peppers and chicken noodle soup," explains Williams.
2. Check your urine color to assess your hydration status. "Clear to light yellow urine is optimal. If it's darker in color, dehydration may be a risk during or post-run," says Williams. "Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of adult athletes are hypo-hydrated (under-hydrated) at the start of an event." This can greatly affect how you feel during a run, as well as your performance and your recovery, so it's important to consider.
3. Hydrate during a run. "When first starting out on runs in the heat, consider setting up water stations throughout your route or carry a small, accessible water pack," suggests Williams. Most marathons will have hydration stations along the route, so mimicking that in your marathon training is key.
4. Rehydrate after a run. "Proper rehydration and replenishment of nutrients after each training session is key to being prepared for the next one, especially if you are running most days of the week," says Williams. Not only do you need to replace the fluid you lost in sweat, but you also need to pay attention to electrolytes. Sodium and chloride are the primary electrolytes lost in sweat fluid, in addition to smaller amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate.
"You can replace fluid and electrolytes by consuming water with a salty meal or an oral rehydration solution (ORS) like Pedialyte® Sport, which has three times the electrolytes and 1/4 the sugar of the leading sports drink*," notes Williams.
5. Keep a simple diary. For each run, track your run mileage, the heat index, how you felt during and afterward, and how you could improve your preparation and recovery. Doing so can help you monitor your hydration and address any hydration needs on future runs.