Mélina Lamarche

By Mélina Lamarche

February 22, 2016

Health

Hydration and Running: The Basics

Article revised on 13 June 2017

Yes, you have to hydrate during a run but it all depends on the length of your endurance exercise. Here are some explanations.

Less than 1 hour

It all depends on the length of your endurance exercise. As a rule, plain water is adequate during runs lasting less than an hour, if you don’t sweat too much. To prevent discomfort, it is best to drink a few gulps (150 – 350 ml) every 15 – 20 minutes, as tolerated.

Longer than 1 hour

When your endurance effort is going to last longer than an hour, you need to plan ahead. Your body needs fuel, in the form of fast-absorbing carbohydrates (sugar!), in order to continue to perform. You also need to replace the water and mineral salts you have lost in sweat.

Here again, it is better to drink small amounts – a little at a time – to prevent discomfort and maximize performance.

More than 2 hours

Long-distance runners, those who run for more than two hours (in a marathon or triathlon, etc.), are strongly encouraged to have a personalized hydration plan that takes the required exertion and their individual hydration needs into account.

Runners who don’t follow their hydration plan are more at risk of experiencing problems that might have an impact on their performance and their health.

How long am I going to run?WaterCarbsSodiumPotassiumPersonalized hydration plan
To cool your body and replace fluid lossTo provide extra energy for your working musclesTo replace minerals lost in sweat, which you need in order for your body to function wellTo replace minerals lost in sweat, which you need in order for your body to function wellTakes your weight, sweat rate, duration of effort and other factors in account.
Less than 1 hour150-350 ml (6-12 oz) every 15-20 minutes, as tolerated----
1-2 hours150-350 ml (6-12 oz) every 15-20 minutes, as tolerated30-60 g per hour50-70 mg / 100 ml of water75-125 mg-
More than 2 hours----For help, consult a personal trainer or a specialized nutrition consultant.

Sports drinks: We’re spoiled for choice!

Sports drinks are specially designed to meet the needs of those active in sports for more than an hour. They contain 3 important nutrients in the right proportions for effective hydration:

  • 30 – 60 g of carbohydrates (sucrose, fructose and/or maltodextrin) per litre
  • 460 – 690 mg of sodium per litre
  • 78 – 195mg of potassium per litre

You can also reach for gummi bears or energy gels. Just make sure you calculate the amount of water you need to drink in order to obtain proportions similar to those indicated above.

Source: dietitians.ca

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