Professor Ron Maughan, one of the UK’s top hydration researchers, says that running necessitates a greater intake of fluid. It is vital for runners, it provides the necessary energy and acts as a coolant.
Sweating prevents overheating, which exercises may trigger. The human body consists of 40-70 percent of water, even a small shift in fluid balance may be dramatic. For this not to happen, a person should monitor the water balance and replenish it timely.
Many runners may be mistaken about the amount and the regimen of water intake. Let’s consider the issues of the importance of hydration, and the amount of fluid the runner should consume.
The Importance of Hydration
A sufficient amount of liquid in the body offsets dehydration, which may be intimidating. When you sweat during the exercise, then the blood volume decreases and eventually, the oxygen is delivered to the muscles less efficiently. You should drink to replenish the water balance.
However, you should stick to a golden mean because the excessive water consumption is detrimental. The underlying problem is that it may cause gastrointestinal distress. In some cases, it may lead to hyponatremia. It is characterized by a low sodium level. It happens when the runner loses a lot of sodium during long races and tries to restore the loss through drinking much water. When the sodium level is diluted, then an electrolyte imbalance appears. This is a life-threatening condition because it may lead to coma, seizure, and death.
Besides, it has been scientifically proved that the swallowing of bigger amount of water than your body actually needs, doesn’t have any advantage with respect to your performance or the body temperature.
How Much Water Should You Drink and When?
The International Marathon Medical Direct Association guidelines advise drinking when the urge hits. An adequate supply of water helps to optimize the performance.
But Ruth McKean, a dietician at the Scottish Institute of Sport, argues that there can’t be a universal fluid intake advice, which is appropriate for everyone. Because sometimes to listen to the body isn’t everything you need. You might not be thirsty before or at the beginning of your run, but it is the exact time when you need a fluid replacement.
Many leading authorities on sports science, ACSM (The American College of Sports Medicine) in particular has issued that athletes should start drinking early and drink at regular intervals. They should try consuming fluids at a rate sufficient to replace water lost through sweating.
So, to prevent dehydration, which is characterized by the state of being fatigued, you should drink before, during and after the run.
Before the race
Drinking water in steady quantities is paramount before you run, it fortifies you and keeps your body topped up. Swallow 16 ounces of water at least an hour before the race. Then drink 12 ounces of fluid each 20 minutes of the run. But note that this is applicable if you run more than one hour, if less, then drink only before you start.
It’s difficult to calculate the exact amount of water you should consume during the race because it depends on how much you sweat. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends athletes to build hydration plans, which are based on the sweat rate.
There is a standard that people sweat at a rate of 24-32 ounces per hour, so they should replace them through drinking 18-24 ounces of water per hour. But if your indicators don’t fit the standard, then identify your individual characteristics. Weigh yourself before and during the track, it will enable you to balance the fluid intake with the fluid loss. But this test will build up a clear picture only when you perform it regularly, under different conditions and temperatures. Use these results in conjunction with your thirst.
Experts assume that the minimum amount of water should be 3-6 ounces every 15-20 minutes of the run. If the race lasts more than one hour, drink water each 15 minutes. This is achievable if you use form-fitting hydration belts or hydration backpacks, you have an access to water whenever you need it.
Drink after the race to reestablish a sodium balance in the body and replenish fluid you have lost. Studies show that it is achievable to replace 80 percent of the amount of water you’ve lost. It may be calculated.
The algorithm of the conducting of the sweat test is as follows. Conduct it before and after the race. Estimate how many pounds you lose after each training. For this, weigh yourself naked, run, get undressed and weigh again. If you lose 1 pound, then it means that you lose approximately 16 ounces of fluid. Thereafter, if you lose 2 pounds, then you sweat 32 ounces of fluid, etc. If your weight has increased, then you are overhydrated, and you should drink less in the next sessions. If you’ve lost more than 3 percent of the body weight, then you should drink more. If you’ve lost around 2 percent of the weight, then you’re on the right track.
Besides, your urine may be an indicator. If the water balance is fine, then it is a pale yellow color, whereas a dark yellow shade points to a dehydration and completely clear urine is the sign of overhydration.
Generally, after the session, you should drink at least 16 fl oz for each pound lost in sweat.
Factors of the Sweat Rate
Sweat rate is a number of fluids you lose through sweat while running. Each time you calculate it, take into account factors, which determine the sweat rate.
- Air temperature. High temperatures increase the sweat production, and cold temperatures slow down this process.
- The level of humidity. The higher the humidity, the more difficult the evaporation process. Eventually, the cooling off process is slowed down.
- Gender. Some scientists state that men sweat more than women due to the increase in a muscle mass, whereas others argue that women sweat as much as men in accordance with their body shape.
- Genetics. If you have a predisposition to excessive sweating, then it will happen even if you don’t exercise.
- Wearing inadequate clothes may increase sweat production.
Hence, constant replenishment of the water supply is necessary while running. But it should be just the right amount you need because overhydration can cause a long list of severe side effects, and dehydration also may lead to serious consequences. Just monitor your water balance and simply replace your lost fluid before the race, during it and afterward. This easy step can increase your performance by an incredible amount and it will help you to stay toned up.
Guest post written by Amanda Thompson of The CrossFit Shoes