Your body is mostly water. It only makes sense that a hydrated body functions better. If you want health and performance, you will keep your body topped off with liquids as you go. So, on a hot day, you might drink as much as a cup of water or watered down sports drink every 15 minutes. If you put it in as fast as you sweat it out, your body will thank you by staying healthy and performing as best as it can. On the other hand, it is possible to drink too much. Current recommendations are to drink to thirst. If you are thirsty, drink. If you are not thirsty, don’t. Any way you handle it, make sure you have access to plenty of water and/or sports drink while you run.
You should still be careful after the run! Most of us continue sweating long after the last step of the run. Hence, it is important to keep your tank topped off! There are now quite a few choices for sports drinks to recover after the workout. The top choice remains the same as it has always been… good old water!
Water is not all that leaves as we sweat! We also lose minerals that play a critical role in our bodies. They are called electrolytes. Without these minerals and enough water, the muscles begin to cramp. Muscle cramps are painful and cause damage. Even if you do not reach the point of cramping, failing to replace the electrolytes means poor performance and frustration.
For some, simply drinking a sports drink provides enough electrolytes. Other need more than the amount offered through sports drinks. Electrolyte supplements come in powders, tablets, pills, & capsules.
Even though I require much more electrolytes than the average runner, I use the strategy of taking as little as possible. You discover this by starting with the minimum suggested dose on the supplement label. How do you know if it is enough? Personally, I know that I have not taken enough Endurolyte Capsules if my leg muscles are twitching as I am relaxing after the run. If so, I will take another capsule or two until it subsides. Over time, you begin to learn what is right for you.
Regardless of which drinks and supplements you use, it is your job to make sure you get enough. Your body is depending on you and so is your running performance.
Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!
- What Is a Custom Training Program and Why Do I Need One?
- Beginning to Write My Next Book on Running
- Gluten, Running, and Me
- What Runners Do: Courage and Encourage
- Health and Exercise vs. Fitness and Training
- Running 101: What Is a Key Workout?
- Less is More: Focusing My Running Goals
- Enjoying Running: Run the Mile You Are In
- Marathon Nutrition
- Social Pace: The Role of Social Runs in a Training Plan
- Stretching Before Running