Proper hydration begins at least a couple days before your race, particularly if you are running longer distances. Try to refrain from alcohol a day or two before you race and drink enough liquids that you are visiting the bathroom often with clear urine.
The day of your race you should continue to drink water up to about an hour before your run. If you are unsure that you have consumed enough, drink 16-20 ounces of water an hour before your race. If you find yourself thirsty just before your race, take a drink of about 8 ounces to “wet your whistle” before the gun goes off.
During your Race
During the race you should continue to hydrate. There are a couple rules of thumb pertaining to drinking during a run. One is to drink when thirsty; the other is to drink every 20 minutes of running. Which one you obey depends on several factors; the weather, how you feel, are you carrying your own water or depending on water stops, etc.
Personally, I always carry my own water on a fuel belt. My reasoning is so that I can drink when I want to drink, not depending on where water stops are located (I ran a 5K that had none in July once). I also use the water to squirt on my head and neck to cool off.
If you are running for a longer distance, or the heat and humidity is high, you may want to carry some sports drink with you. For my 10K and longer runs, I carry four (4), eight ounce bottles. Two bottles have water and two bottles contain sport drinks. I alternate between the water and the sport drink throughout my run.
A word of advice – when using sport drinks, drink the real stuff not the low carb kind. The sugar and calories will help fuel you while the electrolytes re-hydrate you.
When getting water from a water stop, don’t worry about stopping or slowing down to get a good drink. Use the water to wet your lips, rinse your mouth, drink and refresh yourself by pouring over the back of your neck or on your head. Slowing down to cool down will be good for you.
Post Race Hydration
You finished and you are a sweaty, hot and exhausted person. Try to get yourself a sport drink, water and drink slowly but plentiful. Even though you are thirsty, do not chug your drink; you may drink so fast you could cause some stomach pain. Take sips or a good drink, but take it slow. Keep drinking and throughout the rest of the day check your urine.
Do you know the symptoms of dehydration? Please learn the symptoms of dehydration to keep you safe during your runs. We want you to keep reading!