Hydration: Getting Adequate Fluids

*Contributed by: Dawn Holmes, MS, RD, CSSD, LD – Dawn is a sports dietitian with The Runner’s Clinic at OhioHealth, a clinic by runners for runners. 

Adequate fluid intake is key to cooling your body and preventing dehydration, even in the winter. Have you experienced any of the following?  

  • Unable to think clearly or quickly
  • Feel like you are working harder than normal 
  • High heart rate 
  • Decreased performance
  • Fatigue – mental and physical
  • Dark urine color
  • Muscle cramping

If these are familiar signs, you’ve likely experienced dehydration.  Try the tips below to keep hydrated before, during, and after your training.  

Before   Slowly hydrate over 2-4 hours, about 10-16 oz. for a 155 pound person.  If your urine is a dark color, try drinking additional fluids slowly.  Eating sodium-rich foods like pretzels and crackers will help your body absorb the fluids (and provide carbohydrates for energy).  You could also try a sports drink.

During   Drink 4-8 oz. every 15-20 minutes.  If it’s hot and you run at a fast pace, you’ll need more.  If it’s cool and you run at a slower pace, you’ll need less.  Running longer than an hour?  Add carbohydrates and electrolytes, like sports drinks or gels and water.

After  If you lost weight during the activity, rehydrate with 16-24 oz. per pound of weight lost.  Otherwise, regular snacks, meals, and fluids should be adequate to replace lost fluids and electrolytes over a 24 hour period. 

Source: Sawka MN, Burke L, Eichner R, Maughan RJ, Montain SJ, Stachenfeld N. American College of Sports Medicine: exercise and fluid replacement position stand. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2007; 377-390. http://www.acsm-msse.org/pt/pt-core/template-journal/msse/media/0207.pdf

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