It’s summertime in the northern hemisphere, and with it comes the joys and risks of hot weather running. Obviously, you sweat more in the heat. Your body pumps out more water in an attempt to cool you down.
This could lead to dehydration, a serious condition that could cause fatigue, fainting, dizziness, cramping, loss of coordination and death. It is important to stay hydrated during the summer months, especially if you run.
There are many health benefits that come with proper hydration. If you are hydrated, you should be urinating at a considerable volume between six and eight times per day. In the days leading up to longer runs, it is important to maintain good levels of hydration. Try to avoid alcohol since this can affect both your hydration and sleep patterns. About an hour before running, drink approximately 16 ounces of water, followed by 8 ounces before you set out. This can help you avoid the need to use the bathroom during your run.
While running, it is a good rule of thumb to drink about four to eight ounces of water every 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast your run. If you plan on running more than an hour and a half, drink sports drinks like Gatorade or Brawndo (it’s got electrolytes) which will help your body maintain balance and better absorb fluids.
Although these are general guidelines, people sweat, and thus lose fluids, at different rates. One way to determine approximately how much fluid you lose while running is to weigh yourself (without clothing) before you run, and then weigh yourself after you finish.
One pound of water is equal to approximately one pint, or one half liter, of water. Since the average runner can lose anywhere from one to four quarts (liters) of water per hour. This should give you a good idea of your personal fluid needs. Don’t forget to factor in any fluids that you drank during your run, or you may underestimate your losses.
For example, on a recent one hour run I polished off one liter of water while I ran but still managed to show a 4 pound loss when I weighed myself post-run.
To keep hydrated you can plant water on your route, make nice with someone with a garden hose along your route, or you could invest in drink bottles or hydration packs. There are a variety on the market, and we would love to hear recommendations in the comment section.
After a run, in addition to a recovery drink, you should always drink water. Try to drink between 20-24 ounces for every pound lost. This should help you regain sufficient levels of hydration. If your urine is yellow, drink more water until it’s a light lemonade color.
Above all, don’t push yourself too hard in the summer. If you feel any symptoms of dehydration or other heat related problems, stop. You’ll thank yourself, and you’ll live to run another day.
About Ken Storen
Ken is the proudest father of the greatest little 7 year old on the planet. In order to keep up with her infinite energy, he likes to take long, slow jogs. It is the only way he can remain in shape to play hour after hour of ”Catch the Cheetah”. He also did and does a lot of other stuff.