The human body is 60% of water. Water plays an important role in our body. It keeps the body hydrated. Hydration is essential for two very important aspects. Firstly, it maintains the body temperature. And secondly, It helps in the movement of essential fluids through the body. The essential fluids flow with the help of water to various parts of the body. Imagine, therefore, if you don’t drink water or you are under-hydrated. It could be a game-changer for a runner.
Therefore, you need to understand that when you are running, you will be required to pay special attention to your hydration requirements.
How does the water maintain your body temperature when you are running?
Running a marathon can take anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours. An average runner would take around 4 to 5 hours to cross the finishing line. So, it is clear that we will be in for hours together on our feet involving continuous running.
When you start running, your body starts heating up. The whole system is activated at a high level and the body starts to burn the fuel more rapidly. This creates heat in the body. This heat is what starts to hots up the temperature of the body.
The body has a natural mechanism of sweating to help us maintain the body temperature. So, the moment it senses that the body temperature is soaring and exceeding the normal, it starts to use water and starts throwing it out.
Our skin is porous in nature. It allows the water to come out in the form of sweat and escape. In the process, you also lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are essentially salts like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium chloride (table salt) that the body needs to maintain water movement in and out of cells and to spark nerve impulses throughout the body.
This is what leads to the requirement of water in the body more when we are running. But, Can you drink a lot of water while running? You won’t be able to do that. Your body would need to absorb water and that may take time. Therefore, you will not be able to drink much water while running.
When to drink water for good hydration?
If you drink too much water, you will be more focussed on finding urinals on the way than running. And if you don’t drink water at all and tell yourself that you compensate and drink to your heart’s content when the race is over, you may seriously put your health in jeopardy.
I suggest that you drink as much as you can well before an hour or so. This will allow your body to absorb the water and move to the various body parts. And you also would get enough time to excrete the excess gallons much before the start of the race.
While running, I don’t suggest drinking too much water. However, you may use the fueling stations to wet your mouth and throat so that you don’t feel thirsty. You may also choose to have a small sipper tied somewhere so that you can carry along and keep sipping whenever you feel thirsty. Slow sipping won’t create a problem.
What can happen if your body gets dehydrated?
The process of sweating not only throws out the water from the body but it also leads to the escape of essential electrolytes from the body. These electrolytes are potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium chloride. Some water-soluble vitamins are also lost in the process of sweating.
When your body is dehydrated, it may cause mild to severe headaches, loss of attention, and cramps in your body parts. You will not be able to focus your self on running. The essential electrolytes that help to maintain the electric impulses would not be able to function due to shortage. Overall, I can say, your body would appear to be without power and shunted.
So, keeping your body well hydrated is very very important for a long-distance runner especially those who are doing a half marathon or beyond that.
Drink water – hot or cold?
When you feel thirsty, you look for cold water especially. You do this for a simple reason that the cold water can instantly bring the body temperature down. But, this could be damaging to your health. The hot temperature of the body and the cold water can be a mismatch and disturb the body’s equilibrium.
Therefore, it is advisable to pick up the glass of plane or slightly water if available. The warm water moves through the body faster and hence bring the body to equilibrium better.
Apart from plain water, you can also add lemon juice to that. Cut a lemon into two and tuck in your pocket, and lick it. Even this practice can help your mode to feel fresh on the run.
Anything that you wanna add, comments are always welcome!
a runner, a fitness enthusiast