With Memorial Day weekend upon us, it’s finally starting to warm up around here. That means running in muggy, sticky conditions, which can take a lot out of you if you’re not ready for it.
So it makes sense to be prepared.
If you’re only running a short distance or for a short amount of time, you can get away with heading out without bringing water (unless the temperatures are in the 90s, but then you probably shouldn’t be running anyway). But my rule of thumb is if I’m running more than 5 miles and the temperature is 75 or higher, I bring a water bottle along. I don’t usually drink much, just enough to quench my thirst, but it’s nice to have water available when I need it.
It’s also important to drink before you run. According to the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), you can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. The RRCA recommends drinking 10–15 oz. of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and drinking fluids every 20–30 minutes along your running route.
The need to hydrate in warm weather is especially relevant for those runners training for long distance events, whether it’s a half marathon in the late spring or a fall marathon. As the long runs approach the 20-mile mark, you find yourself on the road for two or more hours and definitely need to have a strategy to ensure that you don’t become dehydrated.
Some runners go to the effort of hiding bottles of water or an energy drink at various points along their route. Others carry what they need on a fuel belt or using a hydration system, like a Camelbak. When I would do long runs, I would run with a 20-ounce bottle for the first 10-15 miles (depending on how long I was running) and then carry a few dollars with me to buy a Gatorade to get me through the last five miles, which were always the toughest.