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Beat the Heat: 7 Keys to Stay Hydrated During Your Next Race

Just a week ago I was looking out my window at a nasty mix of freezing rain and snow flurries. This week I’ve been frantically searching my closet for anything slightly less suffocating than skinny jeans and a sweater. We’re nowhere near summer yet, but the temperatures are already starting to soar. Typically we wait until the blazing hot days of July and August to worry about hydration during exercise, but we really need to start thinking about it now.

I completely underestimated the grueling heat the last time I ran a race. I sipped on my water bottle all morning, but I failed to account for the late afternoon start. Unfortunately I realized my mistake only after I was 3 miles into the middle of the woods- dizzy, confused, and nauseas. I won’t go into explicit detail but it wasn’t pretty. Learn from my mistakes and make sure you really know how to hydrate before you head to the starting line of your next race.


  • Beat the Heat 1 of 8
    Beat the Heat
    7 simple rules of hydration I always knew but never quite followed until now:
  • Start early 2 of 8
    Start early
    Don't wait until the morning of the race to start drinking. Your body can only absorb so much liquid at one time. You don't want all that hydration going straight into the toilet. Your best bet is to start hydrating a few days before your event. Worst case scenario, start the day before. Photo credit: Pixabay
  • Replace sweat loss 3 of 8
    Replace sweat loss
    To stay hydrated, you need to replace any fluid you lose. If you sweat a lot, you better bet you need to be drinking a lot! A good rule of thumb: weigh yourself before and after a workout. The amount of weight you lost is the amount you need to drink. For every pound lost, drink 16 oz of fluid. Can't (or don't want) to weigh yourself? Take a look at your urine. It should be pale yellow. If it's dark and concentrated, you're dehydrated. Photo credit: iStockPhoto
  • Don’t rely on thirst 4 of 8
    Don't rely on thirst
    Our bodies are typically pretty good at telling us what we need, but unfortunately they're a little slow to catch on when it comes to thirst. You only feel thirsty after you've started to become dehydrated. Plus, your thirst is quenched before you've gotten all the fluid you need. So drink even if you're not thirsty! Photo credit: Pixabay
  • Make it taste good 5 of 8
    Make it taste good
    Not everyone likes the taste of plain water. Making your drink of choice taste good helps you drink more. Making your drink cold helps you drink more too. Photo credit: Pixabay
  • Choose fluids wisely 6 of 8
    Choose fluids wisely
    Water is fine for short events, but if you're racing or exercising for more than an hour, you probably want to try a sports drink or other fluid with electrolytes. Look for a drink that's 6-8% carbohydrate and has at least sodium & potassium in it. [Most beverages marketed as '"sports drinks" meet these requirement; this isn't the time to choose the low sugar option!] Photo credit: Pixabay
  • Make it easy 7 of 8
    Make it easy
    The easier water or other fluid is to access, the more likely you are to drink it. Figure out what strategy works best for you, like carrying a water bottle or wearing a CamelBak. Photo credit: CamelBak.com
  • Drink at regular intervals 8 of 8
    Drink at regular intervals
    Water can turn to sweat in as little as 10 minutes. Drinking regularly throughout your workout or event is the best way to stay hydrated. Frequently having small amounts of fluid also helps to prevent that unpleasant sloshing feeling in your stomach. Photo credit: Pixabay

Read this post to learn more about hydration.

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