Runners who started a 12km race on a hot day without drinking water finished 3 minutes slower than when they ran hydrated
You probably already know that hydration in the running is part of the strategy to do well in training and racing. After all, the water we drink regulates body temperature and repairs the muscle fibers we recruit to run. In addition, the liquid is a source of micronutrients and minerals (calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium), also present in isotonic, essential for physical activity.
Loss of water and salts through sweating impairs muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve impulses. Therefore, the dehydrated person is at greater risk of cramp, slowness in movements.
Therefore, to achieve good performance and do not “bunk”, you must plan. An athlete who is not hydrated already starts losing, because the water postpones the fatigue. So it is important to take care of hydration before the training or race.
We checked some runners during a event and guess what. Runners who started a 12km race on a hot day without drinking water finished 3 minutes slower than when they ran hydrated.
Hydration in the race: what to take?
As a general rule, for training of up to one hour, the ideal is to hydrate with water or coconut water. Still, water consumption should be prioritized because it is more utilized by the body.
Over an hour, on medium to long distance routes, bet on hydroelectrolytic isotonic beverages. They are quickly absorbed and even replenish the lost minerals and carbohydrates. It also makes a difference to ingest cold drinks.
The ice water helps to hydrate faster because its gastric emptying is accelerated, facilitating hydration. Other than that refreshing sensation reduces the perception of effort.
Hypertonic beverages, such as juice and energy drinks, are indicated for after the activity. They replenish carbohydrates, but they should not replace water and isotonic.
The sweat rate of each one
It is clear that the loss of water through sweat varies for each person and, in addition to the physiological part, must take into account the intensity of the exercise, the type of activity and the duration time.
While a normal person loses about 2 liters of water a day, an athlete can get up to 6 liters. There are runners that even lose about 1.5 liter of water in an hour and a half of training, mostly men. The climate (dry or humid) and the ambient temperature during the activity are also determinant for the loss of liquid.
Alerts on the importance of being linked to the degree of dehydration (percentage of water lost versus its total weight):
- 1% dehydration (mild)
In this situation, it is possible to perceive a significant loss of income, in addition to a reduction in the production of energy and cramp.
- 2% dehydration (moderate)
It is more common in training or long distance tests, with risk of overheating of the body, and may even convulse.
- 3% dehydration (severe)
It requires immediate intervention, as the blood loses much liquid, impacting temperature control and increasing the risk of system collapse – which can lead to death.
The Right Measure
In general, one should take 2 to 4 liters of water throughout the day. A good thermometer is to see the color of the urine, which needs to be clear and translucent. Consuming 250 ml every two hours is sufficient (in case of rest)
For runners, it is advised to weigh before and after the training or test to get an idea of the difference that must be compensated. During a race, the runner should consume 200 ml every 30 minutes of activity, always respecting the sensation of thirst. At the end of the race, you should compensate for the weight difference with hydration in the following hours.
For example, if you are 500 g lighter than the weight you had at the start, you should replace 500 ml to achieve a good recovery. It is possible to optimize this process (recovery) consuming 1.5 liter for each kilo lost.
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