When you’re preparing for an event, following a professionally designed training program from Custom Training Plans is only one part of getting ready to give your best effort to the race. Just as essential is a solid strategy for staying hydrated.
Running with your own hydration source can be a pain, but it’s essential for long runs, especially in the heat. But even when it’s cool, staying properly hydrated is a must.
Whether you prefer a handheld bottle, a hydration pack, or fanny pack-style water holsters, you’ve got to have a plan for refueling. Cramping and bonking while you’re on a run isn’t going to do your training any favors, so try one of these nine easy ways to stay hydrated on the run.
- Preload your run with an electrolyte drink. Both the night before and the morning of, get your body ready for a run with a drink containing a mix of electrolytes. On its own, water dilutes your electrolyte levels, which reduces your body’s ability to stay hydrated. Whether you choose hydration tablets or a premixed drink, upping your electrolytes pre-workout is a power move.
- Make regular hydration a part of your everyday life. If you’re not in the habit of drinking water throughout the day, get into it! Carrying a water bottle all day can help you establish better everyday hydration, ensuring that your body’s hydration level is primed for your workout.
- Flavor your water. If you prefer flavored athletic beverages or juices, no worries! These drinks count as hydration, but a regular supply can be pricy — and these beverages may add on extra calories and sugars that you just don’t need. Instead, try flavoring your water with fresh fruits and vegetables. While lemon water is a classic, try sliced cucumber and watermelon for an extra-cooling taste sensation.
- Freeze your water — the right way. When you put your bottle or hydration pack in the freezer, fill it only halfway. Lay your bottle down on its side so you can fill it up in the morning and get cold water right away. Same with your hydration pack: make sure your hose opening is clear, and top it off in the morning. Plus, you get extra cooling power with ice on your back!
- Run in a loop. Stock up a cooler with ice and beverages (and even a frozen headband or two!) and pick a route where you can easily stop back at your car to pick up a fresh bottle after each loop.
- Stash bottles along your route. This is a great way to ensure that you have bottles where you know you’ll need them. You can also recruit a friend or family member to hide bottles along your route as well.
- Hydrate gradually after your run. However thirsty you are, gulping down down a big glass of water right after you’re done isn’t going to take care of all of your body’s hydration needs. It takes your body hours to return to a healthy balance, so make sure to focus on taking in fluids for the rest of the day to ensure that you’re getting maximum benefits from your efforts.
- Foods count! Foods like fruits and vegetables have a high water content, meaning that having a snack can help you stay hydrated! Be mindful of a food’s water content level when picking your nibbles — watermelon, pineapple, and cucumber are great examples of hydration-friendly snacks.
- Identify runner-friendly stops where you can refuel. If you prefer to carry as little as possible, mapping out a route that includes water stops is a great option. Your route may include convenience stores where you can buy a quick drink, or you might want to think outside the box. Remember, libraries, grocery stores, churches, and other public buildings often have free water sources (and bathrooms).
Whether it’s a marquee race like the Miami Marathon or you need a 5K training plan, 8K training plan, 10K training plan, 10-mile training plan, half marathon training plan, or marathon training plan, using one that’s designed just for you can help to get you where you need to be — you just have to stick to your running training plan and stay hydrated! Our training plans are designed by athletic trainers who know what heat and hydration can do to your performance. Get your program from Custom Training Plans today and experience the quality of our professionally designed running race training programs.