Hydrate for Performance

Hydrate for Performance
by Timothy Lyman, Director of Training Programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh

You’ve heard it before, if you’re thirsty it means you are already partially dehydrated. We are not strangers to hot summers in Pittsburgh, and staying properly hydrated can help keep you out of harm’s way and allow you to get the most benefit from your run. There are a few important things you can do to ensure you are getting enough fluid in your system throughout the day:

  • Drink early and drink often. Don’t wait until you are cramping up on a run to start drinking water. Have a big glass first thing in the morning, and continue to drink throughout the day so you start the workout in a good place.
  • Carry water with you. There are some amazing products on the market right now, like hydration vests, waist belts, and portable water bottles, which make carrying extra hydration easy and painless. The general rule is to drink 12-24 ounces within 60 minutes of your workout, then four ounces for every 20 minutes you are out running.
  • Choose your run wisely. If it’s going to be a scorcher, make every attempt to get out early in the morning or later at night when the temperatures are a bit cooler. If you have to head out in the middle of the day, choose a route that provides some cover and shade.
  • Test yourself. You can weigh yourself before and after a run to see just how much you’ve lost, so you know what you need to replace. Another convenient self-assessment is the pee-test. Your urine should be a pale yellow; if it is darker than that, go find a water bottle right away!
  • Replace everything you lose. More than H2O is lost in sweat. It’s a good idea to utilize a sports drink or recovery drink that contains sodium and electrolytes to make up for the nutrients you’ve depleted over the course of your run.

A tried and true rule that I use is what I like to call the One-For-One. I thoroughly enjoy my morning (and likely mid-morning) cup of coffee. I also look forward to my two post-work IPAs. There’s no way in heck I’m giving up either of these two luxuries in the near future, but they both have a dehydrating effect on my body. In order to counteract this and make sure I’m not ending up in the red, I’ll have 12 ounces of water for every 12 ounces of “not-water” that I consume. I also keep a water bottle right at my desk all day, so I’m not tempted by the sugary drinks in the refrigerator. Set yourself up for success by creating sustainable hydration practices that you can implement regularly until they become habitual.

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