Nothing will deplete your physical and mental performance faster than dehydration. Along with all the other fluids you take in throughout the day (milk, juice, coffee, tea…), drink at least 40-80 ounces of water. Research shows that people who drink at least this amount of water each day, versus those who drink 16 ounces or less, have a significantly less risk of healthy issues including cancer. Be in the habit of drinking 16 ounces of fluid before exercise. After exercise, replace each pound you lose by sweating with 20-24 ounces of fluid.
-Goucher, Kara, and Adam Bean. Funning For Women. 1st ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print. Touchstone.
The body is about 60% water, give or take.
We’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily via urine and sweat.
There are many different opinions on how much water we should be drinking every day.
The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.
This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
However, there are other health gurus who think we’re always on the brink of dehydration and that we need to sip on water constantly throughout the day… even when we’re not thirsty.
As with most things, this depends on the individual and there are many factors (both internal and external) that ultimately affect our need for water.
How Much Water is Best?
At the end of the day, no one can tell you exactly how much water you need. As with most things, this depends on the individual.
Do some self experimentation… some people may function better with more water than usual, while for others it only causes the inconvenience of more frequent trips to the bathroom.
That being said, I am not sure if the small benefits of being “optimally” hydrated are even worth having to consciously think about it. Life is complicated enough as it is.
If you want to keep things simple (always a good idea), then these guidelines should apply to 90% of people:
- When thirsty, drink.
- When not thirsty anymore, stop.
- During high heat and exercise, drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids.
- That’s it.
- It is important to drink lots of fluids but within a proper timeframe
- The key is not to just drink a bottle of water all at once one hour before you run
- Take small/frequent sips of water throughout the day leading to your run in the warm weather
- Don’t chug a bottle of water 5 minutes before you run because this will increase your possibility of major cramps while running
- You need more fluids for your body in the heat because you are losing more through your sweat and if you don’t replenish your supply you will become overly dehydrated.
-Jenn Gibson, RD,
Think cool thoughts: Imagine that you’re in another, much colder, location like in Arendelle with Olaf. Use mental imagery and really imagine the environment and think about how the cool, crisp air feels against your skin.
- Your mind is super powerful, and you can use it to convince your body to feel a certain way or do a certain thing (Karen Cogan, PhD)
- Talking yourself into feeling cooler isn’t going to change the fact that your body is hot and must work to cool down, but it can make you feel less uncomfortable and more motivated to keep running (Karen Cogan, PhD)
Think Positive: Replace thoughts like “Ugh, I hate the heat” with more positive affirmations such as “The heat is just part of the experience—the good part is that it’s working my muscles even harder than normal
- Find some way to make it a positive for yourself, even if you don’t totally buy it (Karen Cogan, PhD)
Everyone’s water/fluid intake needs are different from each other, but it is easy to figure out what yours are.
- Weigh yourself before and after your next run.
- If you lose more than 2% of your body weight, bump up your fluid intake by ½ cup during your next workout.
- Continue to increase it by ½ cup until you lose less than 2% of your body weight
- What you eat before, during, and after your workout is one thing that shouldn’t change much
- Your body chews through more carbs on a sweaty run than it would on a cooler day.
- A sports drink can help you maintain your energy levels and replace electrolytes lost through sweating
It is important to note that the heat puts more stress on your body so always take care of your body and hydrate.
-Jenn Gibson, RD,