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Running and Hydration

As the weather gets warmer, thoughts turn more to hydration and avoiding dehydration whilst out training. Most of us will try to train when it’s cooler but it isn’t always possible.For us in the UK, our bodies are not as well conditioned to the heat and it can be much more difficult. There is always the temptation to drink lots of water before you got out thinking that will help. To an extent it will but depending on how much you’re drinking, eating and sweating, you may be doing more harm than good. Here’s why…

The average person needs 2 litres of water a day. Some people drink more than that which within reason is fine. Drinking any less than that and expecting to be able to do sport can lead to problems including dehydration and gastric upset. However, drinking too much water can be fatal. Too much water can lead to a condition called hyponatraemia which is defined as

” the presence in the blood of an abnormally low concentration of sodium” Oxford Medical Dictionary

The in balance of electrolytes can cause problems within the body. Seizures, headache, vomiting, tiredness and muscle spasms call all be signs of hyponatraemia however, they are similar signs to heat stroke and dehydration. For shorter training sessions under an hour, just water should be fine providing you have eaten well. However, it may be necessary to have an electrolyte drink for longer sessions especially as a recovery drink. When it’s warm, we naturally drink more but we also sweat more so the level of sodium in our blood can be reduced. Although it’s tempting to drink lots before a training session, it can do more harm than good.

How do you know your hydrated? Your urine is the best indicator. You can see on the chart what colour it should be if you are well hydrated


To work out how much fluid you lose during a session, weigh yourself before and after then take them away from each other. 1kg lost is the equivalent of 1litre.

Be wary of sports drinks on training runs as some can have gastric effects especially hypertonic drinks.

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