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Runners Edge: How to Stay Hydrated in the Heat and Still Crush Your Goal

carlsbad running Jun 17, 2020

It’s summer time, the sun is out and we’re spending more time outdoors. Remaining hydrated is important to allow us to keep up with our activity level, allow our body to perform the tasks that need to occur for daily functions, and of course keep you at the top of your running game.

 It’s recommended to drink at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces with water.  For those of you living in dry or humid climates and/or exercise regularly this amount of water should be increased to accommodate for the increased activity and heat.

Our bodies usually sweat to cool off, but in areas of increased temperatures and dry and humid climates this can cause our bodies sweat to evaporate quicker which can lead to dehydration.

 By giving your body the adequate amount of hydration is critical, if we don’t we can develop signs of symptoms of dehydration. The most common signs of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, dizziness and decreased coordination. After you run, ensure you're drinking enough fluids. 

Signs of Dehydration:

Muscle Cramps

As you exercise and sweat your body has reduced the amount and availability of electrolytes such as too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps causing your muscles to spasm or cramp during runs or a few hours following a run. Although this isn’t serious, if it’s happening frequently be sure to hydrate and replenish the electrolytes as well as eat foods with potassium such as sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados.  Later in this article is included an easy DIY Electrolyte Drink you can make and try out if you’re experiencing cramping your muscles during and post-workout.

 Heat Exhaustion

By definition heat exhaustion is dehydration, headaches, nausea and a core body temperature of up to 104°F. Heat exhaustion is common in runners who haven't yet adapted to the heat. Other symptoms may include dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, pale and clammy skin, cramps in the arms/legs/stomach, fast breathing/fast pulse and intense thirst. 

 TIP: Running in the summer try to avoid middle of the day times when the outside temperature is the hottest. When we run and exercise our body temperature naturally will rise, avoid adding additional heat by going during the hottest time of the day.

Other symptoms may include dizziness and confusion, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, pale and clammy skin, cramps in the arms/legs/stomach, fast breathing/fast pulse and intense thirst. 

 Heatstroke 

This can be very dangerous to your body, the body temperature is 105.8°F. Signs of heatstroke include disorientation, confusion, poor balance, lack of sweat and clumsiness. If you start noticing any of these symptoms seek immediate medical attention. 

 Where do you start? 

Here are some tips to stay hydrated while running, especially long distance runs or hikes.

  1. Bring a water bottle with you.  When taking longer runs and hikes, remember to bring water with you to rehydrate throughout.  Sip rather than chug the water to maintain hydration without flooding your system. 
  2. Replenish with electrolytes. Whether that’s a snack, goo, or a little salt and lemon in your water replenishing electrolytes can give you the ability to finish your run strong, safe and feeling well. There is an enormous range of hydration products that can rehydrate you with essential electrolytes, choose something that you feel confident with, your stomach and GI system agrees with and it aligns with your other health and nutrition goals.  Just because you’re training for a marathon doesn’t mean you have to eat the gummies that make your stomach upset. Be smart with what and how much you consume for optimal results. 
  3. Know your limits.  As runners all enjoy pushing our limits and love setting goals for ourselves to strive toward. Just like with any training plan, remember to know your limits. If it’s a super hot and humid day, maybe switch your long training run to tomorrow and do your mobility and cross training instead.  Switching workouts not an option?  Bring enough water and electrolyte replenishments, wear a hat and try to take your run early or later in the day to avoid the intense heat.  And know your limits--if you need to walk, need some shade, take it.  Your health is more important than your pace time. We promise.
As mentioned above, here is a great DIY electrolyte Drink you can enjoy after a run to rehydrate or take some along on a long run. 

...

DIY Electrolyte Drink

Ingredients:

-1 ½ - 2 cups water

-Juice of ½ lemon

- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt

- 2 tsp raw honey local

Instructions:

-Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake well to combine. This recipe fits perfect in a pint mason jar. 

-Store in a the fridge up to the week

...

By learning more about hydration and signs of dehydration you can now take on the summer with smarter training sessions and a healthier outlook as you hit the pavement. Friends, enjoy your runs in the sunshine, stay smart and stay hydrated!  

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