While training for a half or full marathon, drinking the right amount of water before, during and after your workouts is important and will directly affect your performance. With this in mind, you're probably wondering, "so, how much water should I drink and when?"
Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There is no one answer because every person is different. However, there are some practices you can put in place to ensure that you are getting the hydration you need.
Know your goal
The overall goal is to minimize dehydration without drinking too much. Some say that an adequate amount is about 13 cups of fluids a day for men and about nine cups a day for women. Others go by the “8 by 8” rule drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of fluid a day. The amount of fluid you need may also depend on how active you are, the climate you live in and on your health status.
Replace as you run
Dehydration results when you fail to adequately replace fluid you’ve lost through sweating. Drinking water is the only way to rehydrate and cool your body from the inside out, so be sure to drink water rather than pouring it over your head. Finally, rehydrate after exercise by drinking enough to replace fluid lost during exercise.
Other ways to help with hydration
- Leave the salt in the shaker. Maintaining a low sodium level will help your body maximize its fluids.
- Cut out the caffeine. Caffeinated sodas, regular coffee, and caffeine-infused energy drinks and gels might give you a temporary boost of energy, but may eventually hinder your performance.
- Drink when it’s hot or cold. You sweat in cold weather as well as warm weather. So don’t be fooled by a cool forecast. It’s just as important to hydrate on a chilly race day as on a toasty one.
Watch for signs
Dehydration can occur in virtually every physical activity. Be on the lookout for signs of dehydration, including:
- Increased thirst and flushed skin
- Premature fatigue and decreased exercise capacity
- Increased body temperature, and faster breathing and pulse rate
So, while there is no one size fits all hydration formula, the more you know about your body and its need for fluids, the better you’ll be able stay safely hydrated.
The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult your doctor for appropriate health advice and guidance, including prior to starting a new diet or exercise program.