When running, comfortability directly correlates to performance. Stamina and vigor levels decrease over time. That is why hydration levels should be maintained. Here are tips on how much you should drink, risk of inappropriate hydration and guidelines on staying hydrated.
How much do I Drink?
The amount one drinks depends on body size, sweat levels, among other factors. Drink some water before running. 0.5-1 liter is enough to keep you properly hydrated. Thereafter, 0.1-0.3 liters are to be taken every 15-20 minutes as you run. Recovery is key to maintaining a fit body and is achievable by taking some fluids even after the stint at the track. For every pound lost during the run, take 0.5-0.7 liters of fluids. Short runs do not necessarily need hydration. For instance, a 45 minutes run wouldn’t need one to carry fluids. However, if it is quite hot out there you might want to carry some fluids. A sodium tablet would also help in maintaining sodium levels as most of it is lost in sweat.
Plan your route beforehand to map out some requirements. If well planned, you can even avoid liabilities such as carrying water around. A best water bottle for running might seem light but when carried as you run, it could take a toll on your hand muscles. Plan a route that passes by a fountain or several of them. If not lucky to find one, you can improvise an aid station. You can even set your car such that your route loops around it. That way, you come back after some time to hydrate and maybe grab a snack to revamp energy levels.
Set a timer to keep track of hydration frequency. Preferably, every 20 minutes as at any given time you will have covered quite some distance. Once that is out of the way, you need to make sure the fluid and snacks are within reach. At no one time should the main activity of running get distracted for too long. Purchase a waist belt to carry multiple fluids plus tablets and other necessities. If you are plain old-school and prefer a water bottle, that is alright. Just ensure it has a good strap.
Lastly, electrolyte levels have to be monitored constantly. They are mainly lost through sweating and too much a loss could impede performance on the track. Sodium is key but a boost of potassium, magnesium, and calcium enhances outcome further. They are easily available either in the form of tablets or powder. Just follow instructions when mixing with water. Otherwise, you can buy a sports drink with the electrolytes infused already.
What Stands at Risk if I Hydrate Improperly?
To start with, let us get a deeper understanding on dehydration. Essentially, dehydration is a loss of body fluids that exceeds the amounts taken in. It occurs mainly through sweating. The moment you feel thirsty, dehydration begun way back. Should you not take measures, symptoms escalate from dry mouth and a decrease in energy to cramps, nausea, or headaches. In extreme cases, you will notice deeply-colored urine. While the remedy is as simple as drinking some fluids, it should not get done hastily.
Now, to the other side of the coin. Too much fluids translate into a state of hyponatremia or overhydration. Though extremely rare, the condition has been noted in some long-distance runners. Its symptoms are similar to those of dehydration. It is however easily preventable by taking the recommended levels of fluids and adding electrolytes to the fluids.
Both extremes of fluids spell danger for track runners. Therefore, a balance has to be struck at all times. Never too much nor too little.