Hydration and fueling tips for distance running

Hydration

Hydration is the No. 1 intervention in providing performing-enhancing effects when running. Sweating increases electrolyte loss, which can cause up to a 10 percent loss of contractile strength and an eight percent loss of speed while training. Hydration is important before, during and after exercise and competition. Luckily, fluid can be consumed in various forms, such as fruits, veggies, milk, smoothies, fruit juice, sports drinks, water, and soups.

Fluid recommendations for prior to exercise include: drink approximately 5-7 ml/kg of body weight four hours before exercise; if weather will promote profuse sweating, drink an additional 3-4 ml/kg of body weight within 20 minutes of exercise.

Fluid recommendations during competition include: start drinking early and often; drink 4-8 oz every 15 minutes per hour of exercise; practice with hydration during training so your body can adapt to the water demand; if event or training is more than 60 minutes, sports drinks should be used to accommodate the sodium loss.

Fluid recommendations after competition include: for every pound of weight lost, replace with three cups of water or sports drink; if urine is a dark yellow, that is an indication that you need more water.

Hydration packs are also an option for use when training and during competition to ensure you have adequate fluid intake throughout the run. Options include a belt with water bottles, a handheld water bottle or a backpack hydration system.

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