Hydration for Runners

Marathon Hamburg 2006Runners all face dehydration issues. We sweat it out for long periods of time and it is often difficult to quickly replace lost water and sodium. You can do a few tests to determine if you are dehydrated:

Urinate. The darker the pee, the more you need to drink. Your urine should be either clear or a light yellow. It can change, however, if you are taking supplements. Start watching your pee color within hours of taking vitamins and you can know what is normal.

Use your skin. Test your hydration by pinching your skin on the back of your hand and holding it for a few seconds. If the skin stays up, you are dehydrated.

Look at your fingers. You know that pruned skin you get when you take a long shower or bath, that can also happen when you are dehydrated. Your skin won’t look as plump.

Check your breath. If you have bad breath and this is not normal, you may be dehydrated. Your saliva starts changing because it is thirsty, causing bad breath.

Sitting in front of a fan. If the temperature is more than 95 degrees, you are better off finding somewhere where there is central air conditioning. Don’t just sit outside and blow a fan on your face. This is because when the air is that hot, it’ll mix with the fan and just blow hot air at you. This will make you hotter and not help with allowing your body to cool down and rehydrate itself quickly.

What to do in the summer when the weather is hotter:

-Avoid caffeine, which acts as diuretic
-Avoid sugary drinks like lemonade and Kool-Aid
-Avoid hot beverages that will make your body temperature rise
-Avoid alcohol, which dehydrates you
-Drink two liters of water a day. This is hard, but if you keep a water bottle with you at all times, it’ll be an in-your-face reminder to keep drinking.