Staying Hydrated On A Long Run

Staying hydrated on a long run - a how toStaying hydrated can be a big concern for athletes at any level in any sport – especially running.  Many runners are minimalist when it comes to what they bring on the run, from synthetic tank tops, short shorts and barefoot/minimalist shoes, it’s all about the elimination of weight, resistance, and annoyance.   So how do you handle a long run and keep hydrated? Here’s some easy steps to follow:

First, plan ahead.  Drink a good amount of liquid 30 minutes before your run and then make an effort to use the bathroom just before heading out.  Being hydrated before will help you keep from getting dry mouth out of the gate.

Second, plan your route.  Try to plan an out-and-back route that would allow you leave a water bottle at the half way point.  You may have to run with the bottle for the first part of your run, but once you put it in a safe (easy-to-find place) you are good to go.

Third, power to the suck candy.  Bring a peppermint candy with you. When you start to feel your mouth getting dry pop that bad boy in and you’ll have three things going for you, fresh breath, a little sugar, and no more dry mouth.   Tuck the candy in your cheek and you’ll find that it will last a few miles while keeping your mouth moist and allowing you to breath. It also give your brain something else to think about, eliminating a lot of mental stress.

Fourth, pack the bottle.  It may be a pain, but use a fanny pack, or jersey pocket and pack a small bottle of water.  On hot summer days when you slept in, but still feel the need to get your run in, having that bottle will make life a lot more bearable.

Fifth, drink after the run.  Drink, drink, drink.  After a long run you’ll need to replenish your body for the rest of the day.  Drinking in small sips over a longer period of time will be far more effective than just gulping down two litters – most of which will go straight to the bladder.  Adding electrolyte agents is also a good idea to stay hydrated and recover lost electrolytes.

What do you like to do to stay hydrated? What advice do you have for ‘newbies?’ When do you drink water vs an electrolyte drink like Gatorade?