Hydration Fundamentals for Path Working


trail runner drinking from a handheld water bottle

Staying correctly hydrated is among the keys to consolation and efficiency whereas path working. The advantages can embrace extra vitality and endurance and a lower in restoration time after an extended, difficult run. On this article, we check out:

  • How a lot to drink
  • Suggestions for staying hydrated
  • Dangers of improper hydration: dehydration and overhydration

Path Working: How A lot to Drink

How a lot it’s essential to drink clearly relies on how lengthy you’re working and the way a lot you’re sweating, however listed below are some good fundamental pointers for a run lasting 45 minutes or longer:

hydration basics for trail running infographic

  • Pre-hydrate: Drink 17–20 fl. oz. about two hours earlier than your run so that you’ll begin off correctly hydrated.
  • Preserve hydration: Drink about 5–10 fl. oz. (or a couple of good lengthy drinks) of water each 15–20 minutes whereas working.
  • Drink after: Put up-exercise hydration will get your fluid ranges again to regular and may help with restoration. For each pound misplaced whereas working, drink 16–24 fl. oz. of water.

When you’re doing a brief run, say one which lasts 45 minutes or much less, you might be able to forgo ingesting water when you’re on the market. Nonetheless, if it’s actually scorching exterior and also you’ll be sweating quite a bit, carry and drink water no matter how lengthy you’ll be working.

To study easy methods to carry your water, see our article, Methods to Pack Your Path-Working Gear.

Hydration Suggestions

trail runner placing an electrolyte tablet into their water bottle

Plan your route: Water weighs quite a bit (16 fl. oz. is simply over a pound), so if you wish to keep away from carrying additional weight when you run, plan a route that may take you by a water fountain the place you’ll be able to drink or refill a bottle. Another choice is to make use of your automotive like an help station and plan a long term that does loops out of your car. You may cease at your automotive to refill a water bottle and seize a fast snack.


Set a timer: Whereas working, it’s simple to zone out and lose observe of the final time you drank. Set a timer in your watch to sound an alarm about each 20 minutes as a reminder to drink and eat some meals.

Store fitnessinf’s number of working watches and GPS sports activities watches.


Preserve water accessible: Whether or not you employ a handheld working bottle, a waistbelt or a hydration vest, the secret is to maintain your water accessible always. You need to by no means need to cease working with a purpose to drink. Doing so will gradual you down and also you gained’t cease continuously sufficient to remain correctly hydrated. Study extra about carrying your water, and different necessities, in our article, Methods to Pack Your Path-Working Gear.

Store fitnessinf’s number of working packs.


Substitute electrolytes: If you sweat, you lose electrolytes, and if you happen to lose too many, your efficiency can endure. In case your run lasts for under an hour or much less, this often isn’t a problem, however if you’re out for longer it’s necessary to compensate for the loss. Focus totally on changing sodium and potassium, however calcium and magnesium are additionally necessary. The simplest approach to do that is with an electrolyte substitute sport drink. You should buy handy powders and tablets to premix with water earlier than a run or to hold with you when you’re on the market. Observe the instructions on the packaging for mixing and consuming.

Store fitnessinf’s number of sports activities drinks.

Study extra about vitamin in our article, Vitamin Fundamentals for Path Working.

Dangers of Improper Hydration

trail runner with handheld water bottle in hand



Dehydration happens when the lack of physique fluids, often by means of sweating, exceeds the quantity taken in. As soon as you’ve got reached the purpose of feeling thirsty, dehydration has already begun. When you don’t counteract this by ingesting water, the physique will proceed to offer indicators that it’s working low on fluids:

Early indicators of dehydration:

  • thirst
  • dry mouth
  • lower in vitality

Extra critical signs of dehydration:

  • cramps
  • complications
  • nausea
  • darkish urine with much less quantity (be aware that nutritional vitamins like B12 may cause urine to be brilliant yellow, which can not point out dehydration)
  • lower in your working efficiency

The treatment for dehydration is easy: Drink water. It’s higher to take frequent sips of water reasonably than chugging bigger quantities occasionally. Including in sport/vitality drinks may help restore carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Doublecheck your water consumption by weighing your self earlier than and after working: You need to weigh about the identical. You probably have misplaced a number of kilos, you then’re most likely not ingesting sufficient water. For each pound misplaced, drink 16–24 fl. oz. of water and plan to extend your fluid consumption the subsequent time you run. Know that it may be very tough, if not unimaginable, to take care of your physique weight throughout an extended, exhausting run, particularly on a scorching day, so do not be stunned if you happen to weigh much less.


The flip-side to dehydration is overhydration, or hyponatremia. This can be a pretty uncommon situation that primarily impacts endurance athletes comparable to marathon runners, ultrarunners and triathletes.

In hyponatremia, sodium ranges within the blood turn out to be so diluted that cell perform turns into impaired. In very excessive circumstances, hyponatremia could trigger coma and even loss of life.

The signs of hyponatremia are just like dehydration: fatigue, headache and nausea, inflicting some runners to mistakenly drink extra water and exacerbate the difficulty.

Stopping overhydration: The important thing to stopping overhydration is to watch how a lot you drink.

  • Don’t overdrink—Persist with ingesting about 10 fl. oz. about each 20 minutes and take a look at to not drink greater than you sweat. Weight achieve throughout a run is a telltale signal that you simply’re ingesting an excessive amount of.
  • Add salt—Preserve your salt ranges balanced by sometimes ingesting a sports activities drink with electrolytes as a substitute of plain water and/or consuming a salty snack, comparable to pretzels. You too can take salt tablets.


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