Hydration Tips For The Long Run

Before Exercise

  • Drink  14-22 ounces of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink another 6-12 ounces of fluid 10 to 20 min before exercise

 During Exercise

  • Goal: Maintain fluid balance to avoid dehydration and over-hydration.
  • Drink 6-12 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes of exercise depending on tolerance.

 After Exercise

  • Goal: Drink adequate fluid to replace sweat losses.
  • Sip 2-3 cups of fluid for every1 # of body weight loss. (Don’t gulp fluid right after you finish)

 Hydration Tips

  • NEW GUIDELINESDrink when thirsty! Or drink only to the point where you are maintaining your body weight, but not gaining weight.
  • Drink water on runs under 30 minutes.
  • Drink more than just water on runs over 30 minutes (i.e. sports drink for carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement)
  • During long runs: experiment and practice what works for you; each person is different.
  • Urine: If it is totally clear, may be drinking too much. Too dark (Ice tea or apple juice color) you are probably not drinking enough. Aim for pale yellow color (lemonade).
  • Scale: if you gain weight during a run; you are probably drinking too much; if you lose 2% or more of your weight on a single run; you are probably not drinking enough. 
  • It is best NOT to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) i.e.: aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium; before, during or immediately after you run/race.
  • Be especially careful if you expect to run over 4 hours, and if you have an unusually small or large body size, drink less if you feel your stomach become bloated, queasy or sloshy.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of dehydration and hyponatremia. (see below)

  Signs of Dehydration:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue           
  • Dizziness         
  • Nausea                                                   
  • Weakness        
  • Irritability                                             
  • Vomiting         
  • Heat Flush                                                       
  • Muscle cramps                                                          
  • Abnormal chills

 Signs of Hyponatremia:

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Confusion
  • Throbbing headache
  • Nausea
  • Apathy
  • Severe fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Wheezy breathing
  • Bloated stomach
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizure


Source: Runners World; American running association; AMAA sports medicine.