Hydration for Runners

Staying Hydrated is very important to get the best performance while running as well as to avoid dehydration after running. Dehydration can lead to cramps, fatigue and other side effects and the best way to avoid these is to hydrate yourself sufficiently before running.

Prehydration

Given the importance of hydration for optimal athletic performance, being properly hydrated before practices and competitions is essential. Prehydration often is a problem for young athletes, due to their potential inability to perceive thirst and rehydrate appropriately.

Is there such a thing as too much water?

Yes. Over-hydrating or Drinking excessive amounts of water in a short period of time can lead to water intoxication. When excessive amounts of water are consumed, the sodium levels in the body become diluted, and the kidneys cannot excrete enough fluid. This causes the cells to become water logged and the brain to swell. This is a critical situation and requires medical attention.

Water vs. Sports Drink

There is a time and place for sports drinks. Electrolytes found in sports drinks can be beneficial in regulating nerve and muscle function and replacing electrolytes lost through sweat. For adolescent athletes enduring physical activity in high heat for more than an hour at a time, sports drinks can be beneficial in replenishing lost nutrients. The bottom line, however, is that water (pure water) is essential and the best for an athlete to perform optimally.

Surprising, as it may seem, the most important part of a young athlete’s diet isn’t what they eat, it is what and how much they drink. Drinking water before, during and after sports is especially important for children and pre-teens because they have special fluid needs compared to adults, or even teenagers. As a parent or coach, make sure you take precautions to prevent heat illnesses in children and that they follow recommended sports hydration guidelines.

How to do it right:

– Drink water 2 to 4 hours before running.
– Early morning runners must drink enough water before going to bed.
– Make sure to stock sufficient water for post-run as you will still need to replenish lost fluid for up to 24 hours afterwards.
– Regular water with a suitable glucose powder gives you hydration and replenishes lost minerals quickly
– Do not over-drink before running as it can make you feel bloated while running.
– If you must drink before running , make sure you drink not more than a single glass of water, 15-20 minutes prior.

The importance of proper hydration to a young athlete’s well-being can not be overstated. As we approach the race day, young athletes, parents, and coaches and trainers need to understand that proper hydration is crucial to optimal sports performance, as well as to the athlete’s health.