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Why Hydration Is Important

If you read my Winter running post several months back, you know how much I hate Summer. I hate being hot, hate the humidity that makes it feel like you’re breathing through a straw on runs, and I hate sunburn! Yet, for whatever reason, the past 3 years I’ve signed up for a Fall marathon, which means lots of long training runs in the heat and humidity. 

One thing I have learned through those tough Summers is how important it is to be sure you’re staying hydrated before, during, and after your runs. This might sound crazy coming from someone who sells running shoes for a living, but hydration is just as important as having the right pair of shoes when it comes to running! 

What is dehydration?

By now, you’ve all endured a run or two in the heat this year and learned the hard way that you didn’t drink enough water that day. Dehydration happens when you lose more water than you’ve taken in, and muscle fatigue, headache, dizziness and nausea are all signs you haven’t consumed enough. 

Why is hydration important?

Water aids digestion and gets rid of waste, lubricates your joints, balances your body’s chemicals, delivers oxygen all over your body, cushions your bones, regulates your body’s temperature, and acts as a shock absorber for your brain, your spinal cord and, and if you’re pregnant, your fetus.

Water is important to your body, especially in warm weather. It keeps your body from overheating. When you run or exercise, your muscles generate heat. To keep from burning up, your body needs to get rid of that heat. The main way the body discards heat in warm weather is through sweat. As sweat evaporates, it cools the tissues beneath. Lots of sweating reduces the body’s water level, and this loss of fluid affects normal bodily functions (clevelandclinic.org).

When you’re dehydrated, your body has to work harder to perform all these functions and it will become harder for your body to keep up with the demands of running. Dehydration is not only bad for your health, but it makes your performance suffer! So what can you do to be sure this doesn’t happen to you? Just follow these 3 simple rules:

Rule #1 – Show Up Well Hydrated

Chugging a bottle of water before you head out on a run is NOT the answer unless the question was how do you get that awful sloshy feeling in your stomach. Regularly drinking water throughout the day is the best way to be sure that you’re properly hydrated. While everyone is different, a pretty good rule of thumb is to aim to drink about half of your body weight in ounces each day – so if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. 

How do you know if you’re well hydrated? Check out this awesome infographic from Nathan – it might be weird to talk about, but the color of your pee is a great way to keep track of how well hydrated you are!

Rule #2 – Stay Hydrated

While you may be able to get away with not carrying water with you on a Fall or Winter run, the hot and humid days of Spring and Summer require you to carry water with you – especially if you’re running for more than an hour. Many runners can stay sufficiently hydrated by consuming about 15 to 20 ounces of water per hour during a run, but the amount needed will vary depending on size, speed, weather and the fitness level of the runner.

At AppRunCo we carry a variety of  handheld bottles, hydration vests and belts to make it easy to carry water and other essentials while you run. If carrying water isn’t your favorite option, you can map out your route ahead of time and drop bottles of water along your route, or stop at water fountains in local parks. You can even plan to stop for a drink and a mid-run pep talk at your favorite running store 🙂

When you do drink water on the run, take small sips of water. You’ll be a lot more comfortable taking in a little at a time, versus waiting until you’re half shriveled up on the side of the road to start gulping it down. 

Rule #3 – Replace What You’ve Lost

Post run, you will have to replace the fluids you lost during your run, so aim to drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of water. If you know your sweat rate, or you sweat profusely like our Fun Run friend who wrings his shirt out after every mildly hot run – aim to drink about 20 ounces of water per pound lost. 

About the author: Katie is the Store Manager of  AppRunCo – Carlisle & an avid distance runner. She loves running on both roads and trails with her trusty sidekick, her dog Dash. When she’s not running or fitting shoes, Katie can be found snapping photos for the store’s social media pages.