Beat the Heat, Hydrate Properly!

So for Fitness Friday today, and with the summer heat increasing daily.  I thought I would offer some of my own hydration tips I have used through the years to avoid dehydration and get proper hydration while out running.

FIRST the best times to run to beat the heat.  Early in the morning before the heat comes on.  If this isn't possible run in the evening when the sun is going down.

DO Set water bottles out on your course in places you'll know where they are to pick them up.  I generally pick area's that I can hid them, but still recognize the spot. I do this a lot in my long runs of 16-20 miles.

DON'T carry a water bottle in your hand.  If you are just going a mile or so, it might not be so bad.  But if you are going to be going several, just that small imbalance can effect your running and believe it or not, has been known in some cases to cause knee or leg injuries.  (I know it sounds funny, but it's true.)  Besides, who really can enjoy running with a heavy bottle of water sloshing around in their hand???

DO Pick a course that has parks or stores that have drinking fountains you can stop at.  For me I have several of these on many of my favorite courses.  I don't mind a bit walking into my local Walmart all sweaty and taking a nice cold drink out of the fountain:)  They don't mind either, (I spend a lot of money there at times.)  Besides, its Walmart my sweaty running attire is still far more classy than what most wear who venture into the store! (You know you just smiled because that is true!  If you didn't smile and are clueless to that, then maybe you should re-think your shopping wardrobe, just saying:) ha ha

DO carry a camel pack.  Okay, I am not going to lie, I don't actually do this (but I hike with one!)  However, I have talked to a lot of runners who do and they seem to like it for longer runs, and say they even freeze part of it to keep things cool.  One tip if you do this, I have been told the chaffing can be a nightmare (I believe them on that).  So make sure the shoulder straps are either over a shirt, or you use lots of glide or Vaseline and take some with you!  I would imagine if the pack bounces at all, even something to protect your back or more glide on that would be helpful...

DON'T take a nice ice cold drink after a long hard run that you feel slightly dehydrated from!  It's not good for your body to get an immediate swish of cold after a hard workout, especially if you might be a little dehydrated.  It might not sound as great, but you'd do better to drink just tap cold water until your system is ready to take something cooler.  Let me just say if you don't, that cold rush of water in your system may cause some vomiting... Just a warning:)

DO drink Gatorade or other Sports Drinks.  Normally I don't drink these, just to save myself the calories.  But running in the sun, can deplete your body of its salts.  Drinking one after a run can help replenish some of these at the same time as hydrating you.

DON'T think that running shirtless or in just a runners bra will help keep you cooler on your run.  It will actually do the opposite, letting the sun just bake your skin.  Even though you may feel a t-shirt is too much clothing on a hot day, a light weight moisture wicking fabric will actually keep you cooler than bare skin will! 

DO wear a runners moisture wicking hat.  I know the cute headbands are all the trend right now.  But if you want to keep some heat off your head and additionally provide a little protection from the sun on your face as well as a little shade for your eyes.  Pick up the hat and leave the cute band behind!  I know this from many years of running.  That hat will keep shade on your head, which will in return help you keep a lot cooler and reduce your overheating chances.  (You can save that cute stylish headband for a shorter early morning race:)

*  Keep hydrated all the time, in your daily life!  It may sound gross, but you should keep an eye on your pee color.  A light hint of yellow is the perfect color.  Clear, you are drinking too much.  Dark yellow or brownish, you need to get water in your system.  You should be having to use the bathroom every 3-5 hours, that is normal!
*  Drink regularly and get the liquids in early on in a run or race!  If you start getting thirsty in a long run or race, it's too late to do anything about it.  What you drink in miles 3-8 determine how you are going to feel in miles 16-26.2...

HUMIDITY VS. DRY CLIMATES - This is one of the biggest mistakes I see runners make who travel to run.  A person training in a humid climate goes to a dry climate to run.  They are used to seeing the sweat (humidity) all over their body, and they're used to using that for their subconscious to tell them it's a sign to drink water to replenish.  They go to a dry climate and notice they are not sweating much, so they figure they don't need to drink as much.. (BIG MISTAKE!)
I've also seen dry climate training runners go to a humid climate to run a race and make mistakes too.  They feel they are sweating to death and think they need more water than they do.  What they don't realize is in a humid climate all the moisture they see on their skin clothes is not all entirely sweat, they end up over drinking.
Knowing how to drink correctly, and knowing what your body needs through practice and training will help you combat any climate!  Sure at times and on super hot days, your going to need more water than on cooler days.  But practice in training running in different conditions or times of the day!  It's all about learning and becoming a smart properly hydrated runner!  Training to run a race isn't just about the fitness part.  Training means, experimenting and learning all aspects of the sport and hydration is a BIG part of the training process!

ALSO - Do you ever see those runners who pull over to the side early on in a race, even before miles 5 because they have muscle cramps and they are making an over dramatic fuss?  (And you are like, what is their problem it's only mile 3?) Or has this ever been you? (Hope not:)  Did you know there is a pretty good chance that this person was not hydrated properly before starting the race?  It's true, not being properly hydrated before running can cause muscle cramping early on...

A WARNING - Don't over drink in the heat or in a hot race.  I'm not going to go into all the problems for this, but google it or speak to your doctor for more info.  But you can actually poison yourself by drinking too much water, and in extreme cases it can cause death.
If you are running in a hot race and you get dehydrated and start chugging and chugging the water down in large quantities hoping to get the hydration back, its not gonna won't work!!!  Your best chance is to pull out of the race, or even better don't allow yourself to get into that situation to start with!  
Drink properly in a race.  Most people start drinking water at mile 3 (some at mile 2).  Drink as you have been training.  Just because some larger races have water stops every mile, doesn't mean you should stop every mile for a drink.  Drink smart, don't over drink and don't under drink!
- A person can't really tell you how much to drink or when to start drinking when running even though generally a runner will drink a cup or cup and a half every 2-3 miles.  You need to be your own judge of that.  Practice in training, after all that is what training is for.  Learn what your body needs to drink smart and get the liquids in early so that when you do enter a race, you already know how much you need!

Okay, I could go into this more, but I think that is enough for now:)  Be a smart runner, and stay hydrated properly!!!  You don't want to be one of the ones I run past early on in a race and roll my eyes at because I can't believe someone who spent so much $$$ to enter a race wouldn't spend a little time learning about how to hydrate properly for it!  Ha ha.. (Yes I do that!  In fact I also roll my eyes at the ones who come to a race under-trained too, but that is post for another day:) ha ha ha...

(If I offended you with my sarcastic humor because you've made any of these mistakes before, I am sorry!  But on the plus side, maybe you've got enough info now to put you on the right track so hydration isn't a problem in the future!)

So on a side note, I have some good news about my injury that has kept me from running for the better part of the past 5 months.  You may know I took several weeks off work, and then only walked around on crutches and avoided walking on my injured foot/ankle as much as possible for the past 4 weeks.

The good news is, I felt a significant difference yesterday when I started walking on it again (even if for only a short time).  I can feel it is on the mend now.  It's an odd feeling, the pain is pretty much non-existent.  But I have a sense that its teetering beyond the brink of healed and injury.  So I know I need to be careful not to cause re-injury.
Originally, I had a predetermined date that I set a few weeks back in my mind.  I was bound and determined to start slowly running on it again next Monday.  However, after careful thought I believe at least one more week is needed to allow the healing time to really set in.  So next week, I only have plans to start walking on it, likely a little more each day.  Additionally, I will begin some physical therapy to strengthen the weakened areas.  I will see how next week goes, before I decide when actual running will begin!

I've been off running for this long, and I have spend a lot of money on doctors bills and then there is the loss of income from not working for the past 4 weeks.  I think it would be stupid of me to get to "runner happy" and get out there running on the recently healed areas too soon.  I'd hate to have to start this process all this over again.  One more week may or may not be all it needs, but the fact that I can walk on it now virtually pain free is a very, very excellent sign!  I have a really good feeling about it all this time, so I guess we will see:)




  1. I am so happy you are healing! Thanks for your post today. Yesterday I woke up supper dehydrated, drank more water and woke up feeling better today. Great tips and advice I needed but just was not knowledgeable. My favorite tip is to hide water bottles along the route,Priceless! I have booked marked this by pinning it to my Pinterest board...I will need a reminder.

    1. Thanks Caroline that is so nice of you. I am glad you found it helpful!

  2. This is an amazing list of tips! I'm in a hot & humid climate and transitioning to that summer weather is killing me. I obviously have to hydrate very differently than in the cooler temps. Thanks for these!

  3. Great tips for hydrating well! I hope your injury heals soon, it sounds like you've had a rough 5 months!

    1. Thanks! It definitely has been a rough 5 months, but I am thankful an end is in sight!

  4. Great tips! I try to stay hydrated all day in the heat to avoid issues while running and then not need to carry water on shorter runs. I can't stomach any of the sweet sports drinks so I stick with water or Nuun :)

    1. That is smart! I am like you, I rarely carry water on shorter runs. Pretty much anything under 10 most days I don't take water. But on hot days I may stop in somewhere to grab a quick drink:

  5. A very important topic Kristy, that's for blogging about it. Esp for new runners.
    Different weather conditions can really effect your run. Back in March I ran 13km, the 1st time I did it, it was aweful, seriously horrible. Two weeks later, same time, same track, and it was brilliant. Both times I had water with me, but run 1 I drank it all, and was drained by the end of it.
    It's really important to hydrate, esp days before an upcoming race too.
    And I too love Nuun.
    Thanks for the injury update too, time is a great healer and you are doing this the right way.

    1. Thanks Matilda, glad you enjoyed the post! Two of you mentioned Nuun, I may have to consider that when I get back into it:)

  6. Great tips!

    Happy to hear about your healing progress and even happier to hear that you're being smart about your return to running which isn't always easy for a runner.

    Nuun is my fav for other than plain water hydration!

  7. Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

    Glad you're healing. It sucks to have an injury that affects your job as well as your running.

    1. It does, but yes I am glad I am on the mend! Thanks!

  8. Luckily I don't like my water ice cold but I remember reading somewhere else that you're not supposed to drink it ice cold after a run.

    All of these are wonderful tips!

  9. Interesting post!! I live in a very warm place, southern Spain, and it is very important at sports!! Like it!!!

  10. Great tips! Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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