You can prevent dehydration by planning ahead—and this doesn’t just mean lugging around an extra tumbler of water on your next run.
First, ensure that the schedule of your run falls at a time when it’s not too hot. The heat plays a huge role in depleting the body’s water stores, so be smart and prepare for it. In the Philippines, a good time to run would be early in the morning or late in the afternoon, right before evening. At these times, the heat is generally less oppressive.
If you can’t insert your running schedule during the cooler hours, you can plan your route under shady trees, big buildings, and cooler areas—or run indoors on a treadmill.
Once you’ve planned out your running schedule and route, make sure to stick to them! Now, here are some dehydration prevention tips:
1. Drink before you sprint. Pre-hydrating is important to help you do your best on your run.
2. For long runs, have a sip schedule. Coach Cassie Dimmick, R.D., advises drinking small amounts at regular intervals on long runs. Why? “[It] can help you absorb fluid more effectively.”
3. Also for long runs, go for cold drinks. According to a 2008 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, runners who had ice slushy ran 10 minutes longer than those who just had a cold drink. Colder drinks lower body temperature and lessen the perceived effort, allowing the runner to exercise longer.
4. Do not over-drink! Drinking too much can lower your sodium levels, leading to hyponatremia. How to tell if you have drunk enough? The color of your urine is a good indicator: pale yellow means optimal hydration.
5. Let your thirst be your guide. Thirst is your body’s natural way of saying that you need more fluids. If, mid-run, you don’t feel the urge to drink, then don’t worry about having to. That said, be conscious of your thirst, especially on long runs. Check your thirst every 15 minutes, and follow the advice in #2.
With awareness of your body’s hydration, you can do better in each run… which helps you achieve your fitness goals a lot sooner!