Proper hydration should be something that runners take seriously year round but it becomes especially important during the summer months when heat and humidity lead to higher sweat levels. According to Robert W. Kenefick with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, "Being more than two precent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance."
One of the most effective ways to prevent dehydration is to go into your summer runs hydrated. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking around 1 ounce per every 10 pounds of bodyweight four hours before running. And if heavy sweating is expected, drink 0.6 ounces per every 10 pounds of bodyweight two hours before a run.
Going into a run with good hydration makes it easier to maintain those levels as you run and to achieve peak performance. It's a smart idea to sip fluids throughout the course of a run, about every 15 minutes or so works well. One of the best ways to determine how much you need to drink on the run is to perform a sweat test. Weigh yourself before and after an hour long run at a regular training or race pace. Subtract your post-run weight from your pre-run weight and convert to ounces. That number + any ounces that you may have consumed on the run are how much you should be drinking per hour when you run.
The tricky thing about drinking on training runs is that you don't have the convenience of aid stations. You either need to plan your route around water fountains or bring your own. I am a big fan of carrying my own. Having a sip of water whenever you want it is a pretty great feeling. The key is finding a hydration system that is comfortable and convenient for you.
I visited TrySports to check out their selection of hydration systems for runners. Store associate David Cross shared that the three best choices in order of popularity are handheld water bottles, hydration vests and hydration belts. Here's a look at each along with a review of the features.
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus, $24.99
This handheld water bottle holds 18 ounces of fluid and is double-wall insulated. The hand strap is comfortable and adjustable. There is zippered pocket that is big enough to hold your phone, keys, ID, etc.
David was a good sport and modeled the water bottle.
Nathan Firecatcher Race Vest, $74.99
At first glance this vest doesn't look like it would be comfortable for wearing during long distance runs but David assured me that it's his top pick for distance training, trail runs and races where aid is not offered. It's surprisingly lightweight, breathable and functional.
I had TrySports associate Oliver Cross (not related to David!) model the hydration vest. It's equipped with two 10 ounce flasks and is compatible with a 1.5 liter bladder in the back.
The vest includes straps to help you find the perfect placement for bounce-free running. There is a smart phone pocket, a pill pocket for electrolyte tabs, a mesh pouch to hold gels and reflective trim. The Firecatcher has it all!
Mercury 2 Hydration Belt, $39.99
This hydration belt holds two 10 ounce flasks with push-pull caps. The belt is made from neoprene and monofilament and designed for soft stretch that doesn't bounce. There is a mesh picket that is big enough to hold an iPhone or gels and any other small items you need to carry.
Hydration belts have always been my go-to choice for carrying water on the run and I liked the fit of this belt. Note, you can wear it with bottles in the front or back.
All of the items featured in this post can be found at TrySports here in Charlotte. They have locations in SouthPark and Blakeney.
How do you stay hydrated on the run?