Couch to 5K Week 4: Don’t Forget Your Water

by Dr. Brian Hay, DPT, MS, OCS | Performance Physical Therapy

Athletes, whether amateur, recreational, or professional often fail to drink enough to compensate for the fluids lost through sweat and respiration, and as a result, they may not perform up to par. 60% of our body weight is water, and every system in our body relies on water to function, so staying hydrated should be your number one priority.

Warmer climates also mean an increase in sweating, making you more susceptible to dehydration; therefore, on those hot summer days, you should have a beverage easily accessible to replenish lost fluids. When you add running to this heat, your chances of dehydration just increased a little more.

But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you must drink water every second of the day, it just means you need to stay conscious of how much you are drinking and listen to your body when it tells you to drink more.

Some signs that may be indicators of dehydration include but are not limited to:

  • Increase in thirst 
  • Dry mouth  
  • Decrease in urination 
  • Darker yellow color of urine
  • Dry skin 
  • Fatigue or exhaustion 
  • Dizziness 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Fever  

A great way to determine your level of hydration is by the sweat test. Weigh yourself before and after a long run, if you have lost more than 2-3% of your body weight that means you are not drinking enough water, so on your next run just bring more!

Every runner is different, so every runner should be rehydrating according to their own body type. Although this may be true, a good starting point would be to drink 13-27 oz of water in the first hour of your run. After your run, you should replenish lost salts and fluids by drinking 13-27 oz of a sports drink.

Remember, this may not be right for everyone, so if you are drinking these recommended amounts, but are feeling any signs of dehydration, then increase those fluids.

If an athlete is running multiple times a week for long periods of time, then staying hydrated should be implemented in their daily lives. To ensure you are prepared for a run, hydration wise, drink at least 60 oz of water a day. Also, try to drink a glass of water with every meal, and drink a glass of water for every cup of coffee, soda, or alcohol you consume.

When you’re focused on a long run, stuck inside at work, or just hanging out and relaxing, it can be easy to forget to rehydrate. If you start focusing on how much water you drink and implementing a system into your daily life, it will be a lot easier to keep yourself safe, hydrated, and always ready for your next workout!

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