Dehydration is SO common during Summer training. As temperature and humidity skyrocket (hello FL), it can be difficult to keep up with sweat losses AND daily fluid needs in a busy life.
First, let's talk about hydration in general...
Let me lay it out for you - you are finally going to bed after a busy day, and once you hit the pillow you realize you haven't drunk nearly enough fluid during the day. Cue chugging all the water to play catch up. Besides waking up every hour to run to the bathroom, this is not the most effective way to stay hydrated. Drinking 8oz at a time throughout the day is better than chugging 32oz of water at the moment. When we drink too much water in a short period of time, our body cannot hold onto all the water, and instead, it just increases urine output to get rid of the excess water before fully rehydrating.
We know that within 5 minutes of drinking water, we can absorb that into our bloodstream - positively impacting hydration. SO let's slow down, and make drinking throughout the day the number one priority.
What else do we know about hydration? Plain water on an empty stomach is not the best hydration strategy (but of course it is still great to drink just water sometimes.. it still helps!!). Studies have shown that sodium, sugar, protein, and fat ingested WITH water actually improves hydration levels far superior to water alone if you are starting to feel dehydrated. So, let's drink water with meals and snacks to help with that hydration. Thinking about hydrating this way will set you up later for workouts and just daily life!
But do I need to hydrate more if I am running or working out?
Simple answer - YES!
For runs of an hour or less, water should be fine. For runs longer than an hour, you definitely need to start thinking about how you are going to address the electrolytes. This is similar to other types of workouts as well - gauge the length and how much you will be sweating.
If you have eaten a meal, snack, or have been eating a well-rounded diet - you don't need an electrolyte supplement in the form of a sports drink or tablets (**Unless you are a salty sweater - you may need a little more. If you finish a run and you see white on your clothes, or skin - you are likely a salty runner).
If you have not eaten for several hours, or you are waking up really early to run - you can also consider a sports drink containing carbs and electrolytes.
During a run that is over an hour, some kind of electrolyte replacement should be implemented along with water (i.e. Nuun, Salt Stick Chews, Tailwind, Gatorade, even salty foods like pretzels).
There are gels or chews out there with electrolytes, so depending on the amount of electrolytes within those options and your own personal needs, you may be fine with just water + gels.
After a run, 16oz of fluid for every lb lost is recommended for rehydrating (**You can determine this by conducting a sweat test and weighing yourself before and after a long workout, to determine the 'lbs lost'). Those fluids should be mostly water, but also include some electrolyte-rich foods as part of your refueling meal.
Helping figure out your nutrition can be so helpful if you are running or doing any type of exercise in this FL heat.
Signs you may be dehydrated:
So remember to drink your water, electrolytes, and avoid becoming dehydrated in this (CRAZY) FL Summer heat. Reach out if you have any questions!