Everyone knows that hydration is important whenever you exercise, but this issue is actually more complex than you might think.
There are a host of mistakes runners make when it comes to hydration, so here are a few of the most common ones to consider so that you know what to avoid doing wrong.
Ignoring signs of dehydration
Everyone’s body is different and so you need to make sure that you pay attention to what yours is telling you when you are out on a run, even if you think you have done enough to stay hydrated.
Developing a headache, suffering from muscle cramps, feeling incredibly fatigued or simply having an overpowering thirst are all clear signals from your body that you are becoming dehydrated. Thankfully there are plenty of hydration belts for runners which allow you to easily take fluids with you without feeling over-encumbered or inconvenienced by them.
Thinking that water is enough
While water is of course an essential fluid for runners to consume, it is not enough to guarantee good performance or keep you free of other fatigue-related problems on its own. This is because when you sweat, it is not just water that is escaping from your body but also a number of other vital nutrients.
For example, you will be giving up a lot of salt this way and you actually need to have plenty of sodium onboard to make sure that your hydration levels are maintained during a run. This means that rather than avoiding salt, you should make sure that it is included in a balanced way as part of your prep.
Overlooking other nutrients
There are lots of pieces of advice out there for runners relating to what they should eat before a particularly serious session of pounding the pavement or the track. While having enough energy onboard to keep you going mile after mile is important, it is not enough to load up on pure calories as there are other things you should eat with proper hydration in mind.
Magnesium and potassium are key minerals that you need to prevent muscle cramps and stop the other symptoms of dehydration from developing. To get more magnesium in your diet, consider eating broccoli, lentils, almonds and protein-rich foods like tofu. For a fix of potassium, bananas are often the food of choice for runners, but you can also find this mineral in everything from pomegranate juice to beetroots.
Failing to maintain hydration from day to day
Being well hydrated is not just something you can afford to worry about only when you are heading out for a run; you also need to make sure that your hydration levels are maintained correctly at all times.
The easiest way to do this is to drink water throughout the day, whether you are at work, relaxing at home or out with friends. This will ensure that your body is used to being well hydrated and has the correct levels of fluids and nutrients.