Run It – Hydration tips and tricks for runners

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

As we approach the summer months, it’s good timing for the Run It series bloggers to be sharing hydration tips and tricks for runners. Hydration for runners is a topic that’s important in all weather and all seasons, though, and it can be tricky to get the balance right between under- and over-hydrating. We’ve got you covered with tips on getting through your training and racing seasons without worrying about thirst.

New to the Run It series? Every month our group of running coaches and bloggers share their advice and tips on a running topic. Here are our previous Run It round ups:

Run It – Workouts for Running Injuries

Run It – The Best and Worst Running Advice

Run It – Staying Sane on the Treadmill

Run It – Winter Running Tips and Gear

Last year, the same group of running writers brought you 12 months of workouts for runners – you can check out those workout round ups here (seriously, you’ll never be short of a workout idea again!)

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Think about hydration the same way you think about fueling

Hydration shouldn’t be the last thing you think about when you’re heading out for your long run, or lining up in your starting corral at a race. Your long runs should be the rehearsals for your event race, which means that everything on race day – clothing, fueling, pacing strategy, hydration – can and should be practiced before the main event. I know runners who have a very specific and detailed strategy for fueling for a race, which they make sure they have down to a fine art before they get to their starting line. It’s a great idea to do the same for hydration, so you know how many sips stop your thirst, how many sips make you feel like a camel, when your thirst usually begins, etc etc. No surprises on race day should always be your mantra, and it applies to everything.

Don’t fall into the over hydration trap in the lead up to your race

Yes, it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough water in the days before a race. But it’s more important to make sure you’re not overdoing it – we can’t store reserves of water from days prior to needing it. Your ultimate goal should be to ensure you’re properly hydrated before a race. So…how can you make certain your hydration is on point? Check out my next tip…

Take a good look at your urine (yes, really)

Yep, you need to check out your pee. Specifically, you’re looking for the perfect color urine – not too dark, not too light, but just right! Dark colored urine, or not peeing often could mean you need to drink more water throughout the day. If your urine is clear or you are peeing frequently, you can ease off on the fluids. Ideally, it should be a pale lemonade color.

Drink when you’re thirsty during your long run or race

When you feel thirsty, take a couple of sips of water. It should be enough to slake your thirst without drinking so much it’s uncomfortably sloshing around in your belly while you’re running. The idea of “If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” can be a little misleading in that it has a certain fear factor about it. As well as thirst, symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, and confusion, but getting to that point is extreme. If you’ve practiced your hydration and fueling during training, you should be all set for race day.

Just because you’re cold, doesn’t mean you don’t need water

If you’re cold, or you don’t feel like you’re sweating, it doesn’t mean you can go without water. Winter running when I lived in NYC was always tricky, because the water fountains in the parks were shut off to avoid burst pipes. It can be harder to tell that you’re thirsty when you’re not sweating buckets in the midday summer sun, but you are still sweating and your body does still need hydration. Check out the gear I’ve listed below for ideas on how to carry water with you while you’re running.

Ideas for carrying water on the run, and hydrating during your race

There are lots of different ways you can schlep your water through your training run, or stay hydrated during your race. Here are just a few options available to you (and some of these are affiliate links, meaning  if you click on one of these product links and buy it, I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you).

See the hand-help water bottle in my photo, above? I love it. And you can’t buy it anymore. And mine is on the verge of falling apart. Sniff, sniff. It’s one of many options you can use to make sure you always have access to water when you run.

Hand-held bottles like this one from Amphipod (which is the same brand as the one I use) are super convenient. 

 Run It - Hydration tips and tricks for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

It takes a little getting used to having it on your hand, so try it out for shorter runs first. I only ever used to take this with me on short runs until I moved to Vermont and my usual running routes were suddenly without the public water fountains I was used to (I used to map long run routes around water fountains so I knew I’d always have somewhere to drink). Since I did most of my training for the Vermont City Marathon with mine on my hand, it’s now just second nature to me to have it on my long runs. (It also came in handy when the VCM water station at mile 6 had totally run out of water during the marathon.)

Fuel belts are a good option if the idea of holding something (even when it’s strapped on) just seems like something you won’t get used to. They also do double duty since most, like this Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Running Belt, have pockets for holding your fuel as well as two 10 oz bottles of water.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

If you want one that holds your phone as well, try this Hydration Belt by X-Fit Factor, which has a pocket big enough to hold the iPhone 7.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Practice with them on your long runs so you get the bottle retrieval technique down to a fine art.

Hydration vests are most often used by ultra runners and trail runners, who run long, LONG distances which smaller bottles wouldn’t cover for hydration needs. I am thinking of investing in one of these soon, since I’ve been running trails a lot recently and cut a planned long run short for the first time last week because I realized it was too hot for me to attempt with my handheld alone. For the vests, you have a few options. There are vests which nestle bottles, like this one from Orange Mud (called a HydraQuiver which just sounds cool):

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Or this one that has a ‘double quiver’ (aka, two bottles), also from Orange Mud. Both the single and double versions hold bottles that carry between 21 – 26oz of water.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

And then there are the bladder hydration vests, which you fill with water and then sip from using the built in straw/spigot over your shoulder, like this Camelbak Hydration Pack. The bladder holds up to 50 oz.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Just make sure you double and triple check the rules for your event when it comes to hydration options. Most of the time the hand-held or fuel belt hydration gear is fine, but often bigger road races don’t allow the vest hydration, since they are essentially like backpacks, and pose a security issue. 

Allie from Vita – Train for Life

You may be surprised that Allie is sharing what NOT to do when it comes to hydration for runners…but after running the NYC Marathon a couple of years ago she (unfortunately) knows all too well about the dangers of over-hydrating. She also confesses to being a terrible hydrator in general. Learn from Allie’s experience and check out her tips.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama

A Brooklyn runner, Nellie is used to running in the hot, humid city all summer long (because that’s when NYC Marathon training is happening, and Nellie has run that race twice!). Check out her tips on perfect hydration.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Angela from Happy Fit Mama

A running coach, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, and experienced runner and racer, Angela is sharing all her expertise to make sure none of you go thirsty. Read up on her hydration tips and tricks for runners.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Laura from This Runner’s Recipes

Laura is focusing on hot weather running and how to hydrate appropriately when it heats up outside. Laura knows her stuff – she even offers an e-course on mastering your fueling and hydration (you can find info on signing up for her course here). Here are her best summer hydration tips.

Run It - Hydration tips for runners - from running coaches and bloggers. These experienced runners share their best hydration tips for runners so you can run comfortably all summer long.

Comments

  1. Thanks for linking to my e-course! I am searching for a new hydration pack, so I appreciate the recommendations you provided in the post!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Summer Hydration Tips for Runners {Run It}My Profile

  2. I have so many variations of hydration systems that I’m pretty sure my options are endless for carrying hydration! I always prefer to carry my own, even during races, as many commercial electrolyte products crush my stomach – can’t afford that kind of distress on race day!

  3. Great to read your article. Nice tips from experts about running in hot weather. Keep it up
    Mark recently posted…Top 10 Most Effective cardio workouts for fat loss | Shape HintsMy Profile

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