The solution: Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they're drinking before, during and after exercise. Here are some simple rules for drinking and running:
- An hour before you start your run, try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. Stop drinking at that point, so you can prevent having to stop to go to the bathroom during your run. To make sure you're hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before you start.
- Use your thirst as your guide for when to drink during your runs. This varies on the conditions but, in general, runners running faster than 8:00/mile pace you should take in 6 to 8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes and those running slower should consume 4 to 6 ounces every 20 minutes. During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes).
- Don't forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run. If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color.