Hydration Tips for Runners

Hey, runners! Check out these tips especially for you from one of Sports Advisory Council members, Skylar Richards:

Why is practicing good hydration habits as a lifestyle critical for long distance/endurance runners?

  • Having an athletic lifestyle is not about one game, event or practice. It’s about consistency.    Consistently being competitive, keeping up with the competition and pushing yourself day in and day out.
  • Your body is no different. To change it, you need to add consistent stress. To keep it performing, it needs a steady source of fuel. To keep it maintained, it needs consistent lubrication (ex: hydration).
  • Athletes who maintain their bodies understand that training is only one of four essential events that they need to strategize and plan for; other activities include:
    • Rest: sleep
    • Recovery: body maintenance
    • Refueling: nutrition

However, hydration is a vital component of all three of these events.

  • Hydrated individuals sleep deeper and longer because your body needs less work to do the things it needs to do while you sleep.
  • Muscles are more pliable when they are properly hydrated.    This means that a foam rolling session takes less time to move built up fluid and waste products that are accumulated while training. More pliable muscle also means less damage occurred when muscles were stretched during activity and therefore need less recovery in the first place.
  • Your GI tract absorbs nutrients much quicker through tissue when it has enough water to help the transfer process.

Tips for athletes preparing for triathlon/marathon events: what are some best practices to avoid dehydration on race day?

  • I have competed in several triathlons while still working full time and being with my family. This creates many challenges with maintaining all the areas needed to be successful as an athlete. I have found the most effective way to be consistent with fueling is to identify an efficient hydration source.
  • It’s the same with my youth athletes; I want to see a refillable sports drink bottle attached to their backpacks when they walk in the locker room. It’s just big enough that they notice it and remember to drink it. It’s also attached to something they have with them all the time.

Smart strategies for maintaining optimal hydration levels/replenishing electrolytes during exercise to maximize sports performance.

  • Remember, to maintain anything you should start off with a full tank first. If you’re playing catch up with fuel, you’re already running behind from the start.
  • From there, it’s about access and timing.
  • Find something compact and accessible so you have it ready whenever you need it. I personally use Rehydrate Gel and also on the sideline for my athletes. It is a quick and easy to transport option to support hydration levels.
  • Next, you need to strategize for hydration. When are your ideal moments? I like to have a gel wedged into my elastic shoe laces for refueling after the bike so I remember to take it.
  • On my bike, I do the same thing as my athletes on the field; I tape the gel already opened to my water bottle and take it the first chance I get. And then have back-ups in my pouch.

Best practices for rehydrating after a run; tips for creating a race day hydration plan.

  • After a hard event, focus on integrating hydration within the other essential events.
  • Drink a full bottle of water while doing a recovery session. I personally focus on this during foam rolling.
  • Just like a scoreboard or keeping your splits, it is important to have a measuring stick for your other essential moments. It’s normal to urinate just before an event or training session. This is the best time to get in the habit of checking our urine color. The goal is to have a color of light apple juice (or clear to pale yellow). This means you have enough nutrients that your body can get rid of some, but also enough water content.   
  • Have a small bottle of water by your bed. Drinking a lot of fluid immediately before bed may force you to take breaks in your sleep cycle, but consuming a small drink will support optimal rest.    Then, drinking water as soon as you wake up will help your body start on the right path for your day. Remember, when you wake up, your body just endured eight hours without nutrients or water, and it was busy repairing all the stress you put it though the previous day.

Sports Advisory Council Members are compensated for their role on the AdvoCare Sports Advisory Council