When it’s hot and humid outside it’s important to start early. Hydrate and nutrition is very key to making it through this summer heat.
Here are some important tips for hydration.
If you fail to properly fuel your car, it won’t run effectively. The same goes for your body. Of course, we all know when to add gas to our cars because of the fuel gauge. Because your body doesn’t come equipped with such an easy-to-read indicator, it’s essential for your performance—and your health—to know when and how to hydrate.
Proper hydration before, during and after a run is imperative to meeting your goals. When dehydrated, your body won’t effectively transfer heat. When your body fails to transfer heat, your heart rate increases, which negatively affects your performance and your body. This is especially dangerous when running in hot weather.
Knowing what to drink, and when to drink it, is vital for runners. Follow these simple steps to stay hydrated, maintain good health, and get the most out of your run.
Before Your Run
It’s good to hydrate at least 30 minutes prior to running, but 60 to 90 minutes in advance is best. Try to consume at least 16 ounces one hour before your run, or 4 to 6 ounces if hydrating 30 minutes before your run.
Avoid popular bottled sports drinks, as they often contain artificial ingredients or dyes. Look for all-natural, alkalizing options, such as Vega’s Pre-Workout Energizer or Electrolyte Hydrator, which can be easily mixed into cold water.
If you plan to run longer distances—10 miles or more—work on proper hydration a few days prior to your race, rather than focusing on the day of the race. Your urine should be the color of diluted lemonade for the few days leading up to the race, and you should be urinating often. Eliminate alcohol consumption, as this is counterproductive to your goal of running in a perfectly hydrated body.
During Your Run
Some experts believe one should abstain from water during a run, but several studies show that runners fare better when properly hydrated. Dehydration during a run can cause cramping. However, in order to avoid the sloshy stomach effect, limit the amount you drink during your run.
Every 20 to 30 minutes during your run, consuming 4 to 6 ounces of water should suffice to prevent dehydration. However, the amount of water you’ll need also depends on the length of your run, the temperature and how much you perspire. If you’re a heavy sweater, increase your consumption to 6 to 8 ounces per 20 to 30 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to drink only when you feel thirst.
When you sweat, your body loses salt, or electrolytes. Vega’s Electrolyte Hydrator packets are the perfect size for slipping into your inner running shorts/pants pockets, or an SPI belt. They’re also easy to pour in your water bottle, shake and drink.
On longer runs, carry two or three packets. Also consider using lemon water, which adds natural sugars and carbohydrates that better fuel your run and increase endurance. Lemon water also contains several essential electrolytes, including potassium, which helps balance the body’s fluids and electrolytes.
Be sure to choose a lightweight, hand-held water bottle with a comfortable, breathable grip. Check out the 12-ounce Hydraform Handheld Hydration bottle from Lululemon.
That will get you through about 1 hour and 30 minutes of running in mild weather. If you’re running a longer race, simply fill it up at the water stations.
After Your Run
It’s essential to continue proper hydration immediately following your race for a fast recovery. Check your urine. If it’s darker after a run, you’re not properly hydrated.
Try drinking cold coconut water, which contains natural sugars and high levels of potassium. Drink slowly and often. You can also make a blended smoothie with coconut water, a banana, a scoop of Vega Recovery Accelerator and some hemp protein for a delicious, alkalizing and dairy-free recovery drink.
Your body is a machine. Keep it properly fueled, and it will work harder for you.