Staying hydrated is important but it is even more vital for runners! Water helps to regulate our body temperature in the Malaysian heat (and humidity) as we lose up to 3% of our body weight through sweating! Runners affected by dehydration may feel tired, get headaches and muscle cramps, have an increased heart rate as well as the possibility of heat stroke. To prevent these issues, you need to regularly hydrate throughout the day but many of us are confused about the right amount of fluids to consume.
Read on for some hydration DO’s and DON’Ts!
- DO hydrate before you start running. You should drink 240-480ml (1-2 cups) of water approximately 1-2 hours before you start your exercise.
DON’T drink more than 480ml (2 cups). This will prevent being bloated and the risk of unwanted toilet stops!
- DO try to sip a mouthful of water every 15-20 minutes of a run that lasts less than 1 hour if you feel thirsty. If you are running for more than an hour, you should plan on drinking at least a mouthful of water every 15 minutes.
DON’T be tempted to drink more than a mouthful at a time. You don’t want to have the uncomfortable feeling of water swirling around in your stomach as your digestive system struggles to deal with a large quantity of liquid.
- DO place a drinks bottle along your training route so that you can have a short break for hydration when necessary.
DON’T give runners a bad name by leaving litter behind please! It is your responsibility to dispose of any rubbish after you have finished your run.
- DO consider equipping yourself with a hydration backpack if you are running for long distances or durations.
DON’T carry water bottles in your hands as this will affect your running posture and form.
- DO check your urine colour after your run. If the colour is dark yellow, you need to drink more water to keep rehydrating.
DON’T drink more water if your urine colour is light yellow to clear. It is possible to over-hydrate, which could lead to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia.
- DO weigh yourself (without clothes) before and after exercising if you want to determine the amount of fluid you lost during your workout. For every 5kg lost, you should drink up 500-700ml (2-3 cups) of water.
DON’T drink more water if you have gained weight during a run. It’s a telltale sign that you have drunk too much which can also be dangerous!
- DO test and find your own body’s limits regarding hydration as you progress on your running journey. Everyone sweats differently so you need to find the level of hydration that helps you perform at your best.
DON’T just rely on water if you are running long distances. Experiment with gels, electrolytes, salt tablets, sports drinks, etc., to find what works best for you.