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‘The Basics’ – Hydration


This one’s quick, but very important.

In a nutshell:

Hydration is the process of consuming and storing water.

It is vital for the efficient running of all our bodily functions and maintaining a healthy/safe temperature.

Drinking water is good for you, especially when exercising.  Very especially on hot days, or during intense/extended bouts of exercise.

But there’s more to consider than just taking on water.

Your body requires salt, or more precisely ‘electrolytes’ within your body in order to function.  It’s more complicated than that, but trust me it’s important.  If you’re brave enough/or insomniac – click here to read about it.

So – when you sweat, you sweat out a lot of the electrolytes contained within the sweat itself.  Just look at people’s faces all streaked with lines of dried up salt next time you’ve finished a lengthy run/race.

To illustrate the importance of electrolyte replacement when drinking for exercise:

Imagine a glass of cola (hmmm cola).  The glass is your body, the cola – your blood stream/hydration level.

 Run Run Run – Sweat Sweat Sweat

– suddenly that glass is half empty.

So you guzzle down water.  Brilliant yes?  NO!

Now that glass of cola looks a little thinner than it did before, but on you go….

Run Run Run – Sweat Sweat Sweat

Same thing again, half empty, so you drink more water to top up.  Perhaps you drink for the entire time that you exercise…?

You don’t want to dehydrate, cause you’ve heard nothing but bad things about dehydration.  So you’re rather pleased with your healthy little run routine.  Then you begin to feel tired, nauseous, crampy, headachey, all kinds of not very good.

The reason….. you’ve lost a lot of electrolytes, before effectively diluting what remained to the point of failure.  You’ve got to restore the salt as well as the water if you’re going to keep working hard and sweating.  And not fall apart.


It isn’t pleasant, but the kids who kill themselves on ecstasy do so because it makes them very hot (that and dancing for hours on end), so they drink water until they overhydrate and they fail.  Same with a few runners who’ve done likewise on great north run or similar, dropping dead at the finish line.



There are plenty of options when it comes to product with electrolyte included.  Sachets, sweets, drinks or gels.  Just look around and try things until you find something which appeals to your taste buds and leaves you feeling good during and after your runs.

I used to eat a Snickers bar or two during long runs, they contain plenty of energy, with both nuts and some salt, along with some caramel and chocolate, so all bases covered for fast/slow energy release and salt enough to stave off over-hydration when drinking.  though for drinks, I used to use dihoralyte for the blackcurrant flavour, combined with plenty of the right minerals.  They provide the basis for remaining comfortably hydrated on long events as well as acting as intended as a remedy against diarrhea.  That’s a win-win in my book.

About Houghboy

Running. Films. Films about running. It's all good.
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