So, you’re looking to stay hydrated on your long run, and you trying to figure out what are some strategies you can use to do that? Well, I’m Jesse Funk, and on today’s episode of Runner’s High, I’m going to give you two basic strategies you can use to stay hydrated on your long run.
I touched on staying hydrated in my running in the heat video because it’s especially important to stay hydrated when it’s hot out and you’re sweating more. But you can actually get dehydrated, even on a winter running when temperatures are below freezing. That actually is almost a more dangerous time because you may not be aware of how much you’re sweating. So, really, there are two main options you can go to.
The first option you have is to bring water with you, and this can come in several different forms. It can be a water backpack, or one of those belts that holds water bottles in it, something that you can portably bring with you on the run. I’ve seen people carrying water bottles as well. You can do that in a pinch. I don’t personally recommend that just from a running form kind of standpoint, but that’s me being a stickler. So, some way you need to bring water with you on the run.
Now, you are going to be weighed down a little bit more with how much water you’re bringing with you. It depends on how much you have as to how much it weighs. But the opposite side of that is that if you don’t bring it, you can become dehydrated, and your muscles aren’t going to function as well when they’re dehydrated. So, you’re trading off a little bit of extra weight for the long term ability for your muscles to function at a higher rate. If you absolutely don’t want to take water with you on your run, the other option you have is to make a looped run or some kind of route that passes back by your starting point multiple times throughout the run.
So, for instance, say I’m going out for 10 miles, I might make a three mile loop. And then for the last mile do like a short out and back. For me this means that about every 20 minutes, I’m going to get some kind of drink. For you, it’s just going to depend on how hot it is, how much you’re sweating, what kind of route you can do. But you’re going to make some kind of loop so that you can come back by grab water bottle, go inside, cool off whatever it is you’re going to do to maintain that hydration and for your particular circumstances that day.
Just as important as it is getting something in terms of hydration, it’s also important to figure out what you’re taking in. If you’re doing a short run, then you probably get away with water, it’s not as big a deal. But the longer you go, the more likely it is you need some kind of electrolyte replacement. I’ve used all kinds of different things over time. I’ve used Gatorade, which is, you know the big leader in this industry because they kind of started it or popularized it. But I find that Gatorade often has too much sugar and can cause GI distress. I used to use G2, the low sugar version and then cut it in half with water to cut it down even further.
But you actually want a higher electrolyte content than that most likely, and that can be through electrolyte tablets. I currently use a brand called DFS, they have a lot of electrolytes and a sour taste that works well for me so I don’t get that kind of sick feeling from too much sugar and sweets. But the whole goal here is electrolyte balance. If you have too many electrolytes, you take in too high of a content of electrolytes, you can end up with GI distress or vomiting. And if you have too few, then you go the opposite direction and have the more common scenario of muscle cramping. But figuring this out is a little bit of experimenting on your part. I can’t necessarily prescribe and say yes, this is the thing I drinking.
So, you should absolutely try that, it’s the best. It’s what works for me but obviously there are tons of companies made tons of products, and they work for a variety of people. My coach, if you’ve seen him on the Smart Athlete Podcast, Episode 1, he was willing to join me on episode one before I get started. He loves products from Hammer. And other people love products from Hammer as well because they don’t have sugar. If you’re looking for something without sugar, that may be a good option. But you need to experiment with things to figure out what works for you when you’re trying to do those electrolyte replacements.
So, what kind of strategies do you have for staying hydrated on the long run that I haven’t covered? I’d love to hear more tips sharing with us down in the comments below. Let me know and let the other people watching this video know what your tips are for staying hydrated on the long run. I’m Jesse Funk and I’ll see you on the next episode of Runner’s High.