As the weather gets warmer, it is essential that runners stay hydrated. Drinking water and electrolyte drinks not only during the run, but all day and pre-and post run helps to avert the decline in your ability to exercise. Here’s why:
When you get hot, your body's survival instinct is to try to cool itself, not to fuel more activity. As your body warms (both from physical exertion and increasing temperature), it automatically directs blood flow toward the skin, where it can cool from the effects of sweat evaporation, and away from muscles. Additionally, as you dehydrate, your plasma thickens, so your heart has to work harder and your ability to exercise declines.
Your body cannot absorb fluids fast enough to replace what you lose sweating in these conditions, so be sure to arrive to your run fully hydrated. Get in extra water and electrolyte drinks during the week, limit adult
beverages on the evening before your run, and consider one cup of
coffee instead of two.
We are so fortunate in this day and age to have so many choices of products to keep us hydrated before, during and after the run. I am a fan of NUUN tablets, a complex electrolyte drink that recharges your salts, but is refreshing and more efficiently absorbed than water alone. I will typically drink 2 tablets a day in the summer while at work in addition to the fluid I take on the run.
While running, there are many lightweight and comfortable hydration packs and water bottles available to support the physical effort involved in the activity. They range from handheld bottles with soft straps to belts which carry multiple bottles to wear around your waste. Be sure to try them on in the store and even run around with them a bit to find the one that suits you best.
Finally, find routes with WORKING water fountains and run them. Your best defense against hydration is a good offense. Take care of yourselves out there!