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  • Writer's pictureAlexa

Hydration recap

Hydration is really key for longer distance endurance sports (running, cycling, walking etc) as relatively small levels of dehydration can impact the brain and body when we are asking it to keep moving for longer amounts of time.

It’s important to also understand that we each vary quite a lot in terms of how much liquid we need to take on board per mile/hour etc. It varies due to the sport we are doing, the temperature, wind speed and humidity. Our individual bodies and training history have a big impact too; both in terms of how much water we lose and how much electrolyte (a topic for another post) through our sweat. We also lose water in every out breath from our lungs, more noticeably in the colder winter months!

So how do we work out how much we need to drink? The key is experimentation;

  • an easy way to check if you’ve drunk enough is the colour of your wee after a training session; it should be a light straw colour, any darker and you’ve not drunk enough before and/or during training

  • you can also weigh yourself before and after a longer training sessions (the differences are minimal after shorter training sessions) Assuming you’ve not got to the loo or eaten or drunk anything during the session then each 100grams of weight lost is 150ml of water you should have drunk! You can of course drink and eat in the session, just make a note of what you’ve had and deduct if from your end weight.

Experimentation is key so I’d really encourage you to keep a diary, make a note of the session you did, perhaps a bit about the weather and the temperature, what you ate and drank before the run and during, how you felt at the end and what you might change for the next session. We are all individuals so working out what works best for you is key!

Electrolytes have a number of roles; muscles contraction, fluid balance, maintaining PH balance. The most common electrolytes are;

  • sodium

  • potassium

  • magnesium

  • chloride

  • calcium

Maintaining an electrolyte balance is important for blood acidity, muscle contraction and other important processes so including them in sports drinks helps keep things in balance, avoid cramp, maintain performance and gives you thirst to drink more.

Sports drinks off the shelf, or getting the electrolytes in by adding dissolvable tablets to your water and taking tablets direct are all options. Personal preference is key. 

As I mentioned above what we need varies person to person and also with temperature and humidity levels. Some of us are salty sweaters, some lose less salts for the same amount of sweat. If you notice a white mark around the sweaty areas on your tops it’s likely you are a salty sweater. Experimentation is key! 

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