How to Hydrate

Hydration Guide for Runners | Fleet Feet

Proper hydration is about more than just guzzling water after your run. You need to be diligent about your fluid intake before, during and after exercise. Here are five steps you can take to make the most of your miles:

1. Start Before Your Run

Sip water throughout the day, so you start your run in the green. Don’t guzzle water too close to go time, though, or you’ll end up with a sloshing liquid belly. How can you tell if you’re heading out the door at the right hydration level? Well, pee. If you don’t have that much to release, and it’s dark, you’re in the red. If your urine is relatively clear and voluminous, you’re good to go.

2. Perform A Home Sweat Test

Weigh yourself before your run. And weigh yourself after. The amount of sweat lost (the difference between your pre and post run weight), is the amount of water (roughly) that you need to put back in your system or drink periodically during your next run of the same distance (given it’s hot and you’re sweating about the same amount). If your weight is up after you run, it means you probably drank too much, which you also don’t want to do because you could end up with severe electrolyte dilution, a.k.a hyponatremia. Check out our guide on how to determine your sweat rate to learn more.

A man runs with a hydration belt.

3. Carry Water

Unless you run a route with regular water stops, it’s a good idea to carry a handheld water bottle, a hydration waist belt or a hydration pack. Running with your water allows you to be in control of what you drink and how often you drink it. Water supplements, like those from GU Energy, Skratch Labs and Nuun, allow you to add electrolytes, an important consideration particularly if you’re running long, prone to cramps or are a heavy sweater.

4. Choose Your Run Time Wisely

It's safe to run outside in the summer, but if you’re prone to overheating, avoid midday runs and instead opt for early mornings or late evenings when temps are cooler. While this may not sound like a hydration strategy, it is.

5. Drink Water As Soon As You Finish Running

This helps jump-start your recovery. Drink to satisfy your thirst, and keep sipping until your urine is pale yellow.