Fluids are such an important part of your running life. Water supports all the major body processes—from regulating your body temperature to flushing waste products out of your system. All the organs and cells in the body need water to properly function. Studies have shown that the same paces will feel tougher when you're dehydrated. Here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer.
There is no blanket formula that applies for all people all the time. In recent years, hydration have experts have concluded that during exercise, and the activities of everyday life, simply drinking when you're thirsty will help you stay adequately hydrated.
Many people want more concrete directions than simply "drinking to thirst." And because so many people try to satisfy thirst with food, instead of water, many nutritionists recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 170 pounds, aim for 85 ounces per day. If you weigh 120, aim for 60 ounces. Drink more when it's hotter, or if, when you're done with your runs, you have salt streaks on your skin.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is the best way to avoid a last-minute push to pound fluids before a workout, a sloshy or nauseous feeling while you're on the road, and unwanted pit stops on your run. So sip small amounts of water or calorie-free beverages throughout each day.
How do you know if you're properly hydrated? It's simple. Do the pee test. When you're adequately hydrated, your urine will run the color of light straw. When you're dehydrated, it will be darker, like the color of apple juice.
When it's hot and humid, when you're running for more than an hour, or you're a salty sweater, you will need the nutrients that sports drinks provide: carbs for energy, and electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are critical to nerve and muscle function, and are lost through sweat. Sports drinks, like those from Skratch Labs, GU Energy and nuun, can also provide quick rehydration if you're doing two workouts in a day, or running in the afternoon and again the next morning.