Valérie Fernandez

By Valérie Fernandez

May 3, 2021

Health

Hydration and Running: The Basics

It’s important to stay well hydrated when you’re running. But did you know that it all depends on how long you intend to keep going? Here are some explanations.

Less than 1 hour

As a general rule, plain water should suffice 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 to 350 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes, based on how thirsty you are.

Longer than 1 hour

When you intend to run longer than an hour, water alone will not cut it so 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

If you’re a long-distance runner and you run for more than two hours (in a marathon or triathlon, etc.), you are strongly encouraged to have a personalized hydration plan that takes the required exertion and your individual hydration needs into account.

If you don’t follow your hydration plan, you’re at a greater risk of experiencing problems that could impact both your performance and health. Consult a trainer or dietitian specializing in the field.

Length of your runWaterCarbsSodiumPotassiumPersonalized 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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