All You Need To Know About Hydration — Before, After, + During A Run

This post is from our CHAARG Run Club RD — Lydia Nader [@fuelwithnader].Lydia is a sports nutritionist + athlete… + as a CHAARG Run Club member, you will be able to ask her any questions you have on nutrition + running [she’ll be in the Slack channel ; )]. Get to know Lydia more by listening to her on The CHAARG Podcast — episode #85, all about marathons!

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Hydration is key for not only daily survival, but also for athletic performance. Your body is made up of 60% fluid, which means over half of you is fluid. So doesn’t it make sense that you need to drink lots of fluids to avoid feeling tired, sluggish, loss of mental focus, slow muscle recovery + slower muscle fiber response time? No person or runner wants to experience these things, so hydration is always the first + easiest step to focus on to improve recovery time + performance.

When I refer to hydration, I am talking about fluid you put in your body + electrolytes. You cannot have one without the other as they work together to keep you hydrated, but we will talk more about electrolytes in a minute. First, how much fluid does a person need to drink? The average person needs to at least half of their body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs, then you need at least 70 fluid ounces of fluid per day to avoid all those dehydration symptoms I mentioned above. Now, that is not only for the average person, but it is also for males + females alike. 

Just to make things more interesting, women’s hydration needs in exercise are different than we realized before. Recent research has shown that women actually have different fluid needs than their male counterparts, especially when it comes to exercise. Women tend to sweat less than men + lose less sodium as well, so this means women don’t need to chug water during exercise. Rather, here is how you calculate your everyday fluid needs:

But you are doing more than the average person, you are running + doing other exercises on a daily basis, so you need more water. See below for how I recommend hydrating before, during, + after every workout!

Electrolytes include:

  • micro nutrients sodium
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • chloride.

These 5 electrolytes help balance fluid inside the body + prevent cramping of muscles. This keeps you running faster + longer, especially since you lose these electrolytes through sweat. There are many different ways you can make sure you take in enough electrolytes. See below!

#1] You can get them from your food naturally. 

  • Sodium-rich foods — processed foods, pickles, pretzels
  • Potassium-rich foods — bananas, potatoes, broccoli
  • Magnesium-rich foods — salmon, nuts & seeds, spinach
  • Calcium-rich foods — dairy, fortified foods, dark leafy greens
  • Chloride-rich foods... not really needed if salting foods 🙂

#2] Add an electrolyte supplement into your diet. We love:

Find your favorite way to get electrolytes daily + you will notice a huge difference in your recovery time, + adapting to the hot weather that we all run in. Getting your electrolytes helps your body hold onto liquid to help keep you cool.

What you once thought of rehydrating as just drinking more water is actually so much more, but now you’re prepared to stay hydrated, avoid cramping, avoid sluggishness + recovery faster after a run. So go grab your favorite water bottle + start getting hydrated by using this tracker.

PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

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