It has been suggested that just a 2% decrease in hydration levels can decrease your overall performance not only athletically but also academically by as much as 30%?! That’s HUGE!! One of the easiest ways to gain an edge over your competition is to stay hydrated!!! Staying hydrated is more than just drinking water….
- Did you know 97% of Americans are dehydrated?
- Most people have such a weak thirst response it’s often mistaken for hunger?
- Once you’re dehydrated, it takes a minimum of 3 days of drinking adequate fluid (water and appropriate electrolyte replacements) to become hydrated again?
- After 45 minutes of activity or being out in the heat, or worse, the combination, it’s necessary to replace electrolytes in addition to consuming water!
How to Tell If You’re Hydrated…
Scientific Method: Weigh before & after running/working out. If you lost 2% body weight, you’re dehydrated! This means you need to drink more fluids during the next run/workout. Likewise, you don’t want to be “water-logged”. If you gained more than 2% of your bodyweight, drink a little less next time.
Easy Method: If the color of your urine is that of pale lemonade, you’re pretty well hydrated. If it is more the color of apple juice, you’re dehydrated and need more clear fluids! It also shouldn’t take you long to have to start using the bathroom again post long runs if you’ve adequately hydrated.
How to Get Hydrated…
- Drink half your body weight in ounces per day of water minimum. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day.
- Drink more water/electrolyte replacements when you’re out in the head, being active and/or sweating so you can replace the fluid you’re losing.
- After 45 minutes of activity, heat or both, enjoy your favorite electrolyte replacement. Mine is PureShock’s Hydrate.
Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration
In addition to the obvious symptoms of thirst or sweating too much, here are some other mild to severe presentations of dehydration.
Mild to Moderate Dehydration
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Tiredness or sleepiness
- Dry skin
- Minimal urine
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme thirst
- Sunken eyes
- Dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- No tears with crying
- Minimal or no urine output
- Delirium or even unconsiousness
Suggestions for Staying Hydrated During Run/Workout
- Always carry water with you or create route based on areas you can access water if you choose not to carry any.
- Sip on water every 20 minutes or so especially with the weather warming up.
- Check in on how you’re feeling:
- Are you thirsty?
- Are you sweating profusely?
- When was the last time you had to use the bathroom?
- Are you feeling a little lightheaded?
- Are you experiencing a headache?
- After running/working out for 45 minutes, add in electrolytes. These are essential for keeping the body working for long periods of time.
- Salt tabs, sports drinks, gels, gu’s, gummies, etc. will contain electrolytes.
- Look for options that contain magnesium in addition to sodium and potassium as it’s essential for avoiding muscle cramping. Just don’t comsume too much -> diarrhea.
Ultimately, just like with your nutrition, this is an experiment. Be aware of all environmental factors and properly prepare accordingly. Do the best you can and access how you feel not only during your run but also post run. Pay attention to how frequently you’re using the bathroom. If you’re adequately hydrated, you should be paying the bathroom a visit about once every hour. While you’re there, especially post run/workout, check out the color of your urine. Remember, you’re hoping for pale lemonade to clear. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. You’ll get it figured out.