Proper hydration is crucial for optimal running performance. Hydration is a tricky subject and many runners don’t have a very good understanding of their hydration needs. And this is no surprise—this is a complex and controversial topic, confused by the media, various experts and drinks manufacturers. Here are the top six hydration tips to achieve optimal performance.
1 DON’T OVER DRINK
It’s possible to consume too much liquid, so make sure to get the balance right. If you’re passing large amounts of clear urine, it’s a high chance you’re overdrinking and at risk of diluting your electrolyte levels.
2 DRINK LITTLE AND OFTEN
About 75% of people are chronically dehydrated—leading to headaches, fatigue, impaired performance and injury risk. Drink little and often throughout the day. Your goals should include having straw-colored urine and avoiding becoming thirsty. Have a large glass of water beside you and drink it all before you leave the bedroom in the morning.
3 REMEMBER YOUR ELECTROLYTES
Drinking water isn’t always the best choice. Try an electrolyte replacement drink containing the right balance of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes. Avoid drinks containing plenty of sugar.
4 DEHYDRATION CAN BE NORMAL
Don’t worry if you become slightly dehydrated in a long run or marathon. Anything less than 2% dehydration is usually fine and expected. This is known as ‘transient’ dehydration, and the balance is easily restored within 24 hours with normal drinking.
5 TRY DIORALYTE
If you’ve become very depleted or dehydrated, try using dioralyte which works well after a long run or marathon, or the night before to pre-load.
6 AVOID HYPONATREMIA
Don’t drink too much during a long run, which can result in ‘hyponatremia,’ which is a dangerous and potentially fatal condition where your electrolyte levels become washed out. Depending on air temperatures, 200- 600ml an hour is enough.