Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational runner, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after you run. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It also helps carry essential nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level.
For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for longer than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful. It contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that can increase your energy and help your body absorb water.
Let's check out some of the hydration tips from our fellow runners out there.
Sheela Samivellu (Malaysia's Half Marathon Women Record Holder)
Proper hydration is very important for all runners, especially endurance runners. One day before the race, you must hydrate yourself to avoid muscle cramp during the run. Electrolyte drink is highly recommended to sustain your long run.
Usually, I will have some electrolyte drink and eat food that is high in electrolytes. One of my favourite drinks is coconut water which is rich in electrolytes. I love potato and vegetables. To run faster you have to train harder. Depending on electrolyte drinks and sports drinks is not enough if you do not have adequate and proper training.
I prefer to consume more fluid before a race as I hardly drink at the water station.
Yim Heng Fatt (Ultramarathoner & More than 100 marathons achiever)
I usually start my hydration process a few days before the race - drinking fluid daily, estimated 3.5 litres throughout the day. Two hours before the event, I will make sure that I down about 500ml of fluid, sometimes plain water, sometimes water mixed with some isotonic beverage.
During a marathon, I will drink at every water station. Two small cups at every station are enough to keep me hydrated throughout. For ultras, I make sure I would down at least 600ml frequently between stations, usually 10km apart. In hotter situations, my fluid intake will easily go up to a litre between stations. Gauging my hydration level by the colour of my pee, I try to avoid my pee from turning into dark yellow colour.
After a marathon, I usually drink 500ml of fluids and will continue to drink water throughout the day to rehydrate properly. I'd also drink some chocolate milk which has protein to begin my muscle recovery and rebuilding.
Zijun CK Loh (Reebok Ambassador/ Malaysia's One-Armed Runner)
During the race, I will try not to drink too much water to avoid bloating of the stomach. In long distance running, it's hard to run when you feel or hear water sloshing inside your tummy.
So, what I do is... At every 4 to 5 km, I will take a few sips of plain water to wet my mouth, tongue and throat. I prefer taking mineral water than isotonic drink because I feel that I get more thirsty after drinking isotonic drink (either it is too sweet or contains too much gas). I only drink isotonic beverage when the weather is extremely hot.
To stay cool, I will also pour some water on my face. Salt stick is one of the mandatory items inside my running belt for long distance run as it can prevent muscles cramps and keep me hydrated.
Stephane Thiltgen (Founder of Tao of Running)
A good hydration is key for long distance running. If you don’t manage it well, it can generate plenty of health and well-being issues. It can go to death in extreme cases.
I manage my hydration in different ways depending on the duration and intensity of my runs. For a short/mid distance run (typically 45 min to 1.5h) of low/mid intensity, I only drink water before and after my run and not during (note: more you are a beginner, better it is to start drinking earlier).
When I run longer distances (typically 1.5 to 4/5 hours), I take a hydration pack to have a continuous hydration (sometimes I mix water with coconut milk for longer runs). The amount of water I take depends 1. of the duration of the run and 2. if I can find food stores on the way to refill or not (I have a big bag and a smaller one). As I’m on a low carbs diet, I usually avoid sugary-electrolyte drinks. I only take them when I do occasional higher intensity runs or during a race event. Then, l need a higher percentage of carbs than in normal days. At the end of these more challenging runs, I drink a lot of water mixed with coconut water or electrolyte drinks.
Sue Teoh (Nike Coach/ Personal Trainer)
Hydrate well in the days before race day so hydration levels are at an optimum level on race day. Usually, I try to avoid alcohol and diuretics like tea and coffee in the days before a race. On race morning, you could take in about 16 ounces of fluids 2 hours before running. During the race, try to sip on some water or an electrolyte drink every 20mins or so.
If you sweat more heavily, drink a bit more. After your race, if you can, weigh yourself to see how much body weight you’ve lost during the run and then for every 1kg of body weight lost, drink up to 1 litre of fluids.
Edan Syah (Marathoner/ Lucozade Sport Ambassador)
Your body will lose fluids as you sweat so drink water consistently before, during and after running; this is essential while training as well as during an actual marathon as dehydration will affect your mental and physical performance, and cause you to feel more tired after running. What’s more, severe dehydration, especially in hot weather, can be very dangerous.
While running, you should also maintain consistent energy levels with 30g-60g of carbohydrates every hour, equivalent to 1-2 bottles of Lucozade Sport™ for each hour of racing. Its science-based formulation of electrolytes and carbohydrates is specifically designed provide enhanced hydration to fuel athletes during prolonged exercise.
Runwitme Says: From the sharing above, each runner has his or her own different way to manage the hydration. You should experiment and find out what works best for you. To drink an adequate amount of fluids is the single most important thing you can do before, during, and after a run. Especially a long run on a hot day.
Specially formulated to improve hydration, Lucozade Sport™ has carbohydrates to provide energy while electrolytes to help to replace any lost salts. In this way, Lucozade Sport™ allows athletes like you to maintain their endurance and performance during strenuous and prolonged exercise.
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