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How Much Water Should a Runner Drink?

Running and dehydration frequently go hand in hand, since our bodies can only withstand heat or a limited supply of water for so long. While we can go up to a month without food in a temperate area, we would struggle to last more than two days in the desert without water. Water comes in second place only to oxygen on the list of necessities for life. Your body is 60% water, which serves a variety of vital activities include nourishing cells, transporting nutrients throughout the body, removing waste, controlling body temperature, cushioning and lubricating joints, and maintaining blood volume and pressure.

We lose fluid daily through breathing, sweating, and peeing. Runners should pay attention to their sweating in, especially since as soon as they begin to run, their bodies begin to lose water. When you exercise, almost 75% of the energy you expend is converted to heat and wasted. Exercise helps you feel warmer because of this.

Your body needs to release extra heat to maintain a safe core temperature of 37 to 38 degrees Celsius. Sweating is how your body regulates its temperature, therefore replacing lost fluids is essential. If you don’t drink enough water, your blood will get thicker, which will decrease the effectiveness of your heart, raise your heart rate, and increase the temperature of your body.

Normal dehydration

For many runners, mild dehydration is a common and transient symptom that doesn’t cause any major health issues. Elite athletes, for instance, don’t have much time to drink at sub-five-minute mile pace and are likely the most dehydrated runners on the course. Fortunately, this condition may be easily and quickly corrected by eating liquids within minutes of completing.

Following a run, replacing fluid is as crucial. You should consume 1.5 liters of fluid for every kilogram of body weight you lose. After your run, try to consume 500ml or so, and then guzzle more every five to ten minutes until you accomplish your goal. Your best bets for staying hydrated are sports drinks or diluted juice (with a grain of salt added) if you only pass a tiny amount of dark yellow urine, have a headache, or feel queasy.

Over drinking

The hype surrounding the alleged risks associated with dehydration for sports and the notion that exhaustion is brought on by dehydration lead athletes to believe that drinking more than they lose will assure peak performance. Neither belief has any scientific basis, in my opinion.

Running demands that you sustain your weight while attempting to finish a race in the lowest amount of time feasible, so it might be more relevant to determine whether maintaining levels of dehydration at less than 5% of body weight will improve performance.

While not all academics would concur with Oakes, they all agree on one thing: you should start a run or race hydrated. You can give your body ample time to eliminate waste before you start running by consuming 500 ml of fluid two hours before a run (try water, a sports drink, or diluted fruit juice) and another 150 ml of fluid right before you start.

Your body’s highly developed thirst system signals when you need to drink, but how can you tell if you’re drinking too much? Consumption that is excessive is also a potential risk and has begun to be a problem as marathon running has expanded its popularity to draw more leisure runners. A condition known as hyponatremia, or “low blood sodium,” is brought on by excessive water consumption, which reduces the level of sodium in the blood. Hyponatremia can be minor, resulting in bloating and nausea, or severe, resulting in a brain seizure and eventual death.

Women are the demographic most at risk. Why? Since girls are often smaller and less muscular than men, they perspire less and require less fluid intake. Women may be more meticulous about following rules. Therefore, they may be more likely than males to do it if encouraged to drink as much as they can. Typical women should consume up to 30% less fluid than average men to prevent blood from being diluted and decreasing salt to a risky level.

Anyone who plans to run for more than four hours should follow their thirst, refrain from drinking excessive amounts of water, and use sodium-containing sports drinks. Using medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can potentially increase your risk of hyponatremia. After researching marathon runners, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston came to the conclusion that these medications make it harder for the body to eliminate water.

Running while hydrated is crucial for both performance and wellbeing. Regularly consume water throughout the day, and while out on lengthy runs, practice staying hydrated. To ensure that your hydration and nutrition are at their best, don’t overlook the necessity for carbohydrates and electrolytes. Since every runner is unique, speaking with a licensed dietician can help you better understand your particular requirements.


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