During athletic performances we run the risk of dehydrating our body as we heat up from burning fuel to create the energy needed to generate the muscle contractions for our movement. This is exaggerated in longer endurance runs and hotter, more humid weather conditions.
Dehydration has harsh effects on our body and its ability to perform at optimal levels. It can cause, to varying degrees, decreased mental clarity and focus, increased core temperature, reduced muscular capacity to work/contract, greater fatigue, reduced ability to cool the body through sweating, upset digestion/nausea, headaches… All of which sound less than ideal!
Some of you might be quite aware of your water consumption and maintain good levels of hydration, however a lot of people walk around dehydrated most of the time and that’s before going for a hectic run out in the heat.
Starting an event/training session dehydrated is preventable, by consciously increasing water consumption in the 24-48hrs prior, to pre-hydrate your body. This way you start fully hydrated and continue to top up during the run, keeping better water levels throughout the run, aiming to stave off bad levels of dehydration (prevention is better than a cure). Topping up water whilst running is fairly easy, as we can digest water very quickly with minimal negative affect on your digestive system, obviously if you guzzle down 2litres in one hit you’ll feel pretty gross! Depending on the distance and time on foot you’ll need to replace electrolytes too, but I’m not going to turn this post into one about nutrition, let’s stick to water.
During a run you sweat more than you can replenish, so you’ll need to rehydrate post run as well, helping reduce core temperature and to aid in the body’s recovery process.
You plan to train your body to handle your running challenges, you should also plan to prepare you body by Pre Hydrating and Pre Fuelling.. You should also prepare mental toughness… that’ll be another post sometime in the future.