When it comes to running and athletics, it is a must that a person is very resilient, durable, and very strong. While these physical features can develop in a balanced way with sports and practice done over time, it may be necessary to make a lot of effort, especially when it comes to long distance running.
In this context, many factors, including hydration tips for long distance runners, both active and passive, from pre-run warm-up to post-run stretching, from the selection of appropriate equipment such as shoes to the path on which the run will be made, and the points to be made can be discussed.
What should NOT be done before a long distance run? In this direction, let’s consider the questions such as “what are the hydration tips for long distance runners?” and “what runners should not do before long distance running?”
What Should You Not Do Before A Long Run?
Never overeat before running!
Consuming a lot of food before any kind of training or sports, especially long distance running, will have negative effects on both your health—in this case, your metabolism and digestive system—as well as your performance.
When the stomach is filled with too much food, it will not be able to digest the food that you think will provide energy to your body, since it cannot perform adequately and appropriately during running, on the contrary, it will get you into trouble with stomach pains, nausea, and heartburn.
Besides, long distance running is a sport that can cause nausea and vomiting in athletes, as it is an activity that forces the body’s resistance. At this point, it is necessary to pay attention to the amount of food and the amount of this dish. In other words, consume healthy and low-fat foods in a balanced and sufficient amount that will give you energy as much as you can.
Don’t drink too much water!
As in all sports, your body loses more water through sweat in long distance running than in the daily rate. While experts emphasize the importance of drinking water while doing sports, they also underline that excessive water consumption can be a very harmful action, especially when it comes to a sport that forces resistance, such as long distance running.
Otherwise, you will encounter certain consequences detailed below, causing damage to both your health and your running performance.
How Much Water Should A Long Distance Runner Drink A Day?
As mentioned before, water consumption is a very important action before, during, and after sports. However, as everything has a dose, a certain and sufficient amount of water consumption will lead to healthier results for long distance runners.
Accordingly, it may become a requirement of the athlete to replenish the lost fluid in order not to break the body resistance and not to lose his strength during running. Namely, a long distance runner should drink a certain amount of fluid consumption before, during, and after the daily run.
- Before Running
The amount of water that a long distance runner should consume during the day before the run affects the running performance as well as it is very important in terms of not breaking the resistance of the athlete who performs and not being exposed to deficiency by balancing and equalizing the fluid he will lose during the action.
Accordingly, the most suitable water amount rates that can be given can be stated as follows; the amount of fluid taken 3 to 4 hours before the run should be reduced to 1 or 2 glasses of water, and this amount should be limited to a maximum of 1.5 glasses an hour before the running. If there is still a need for fluid in the body, consuming half a glass 10 minutes before the run should be the sharpest limit for you.
- During Running
During long distance running, it is beneficial not to consume too much water so that the fluid previously stored in your body does not add weight to your mass and naturally prevents the muscles from working. Moreover, drinking too much water while running can force the bladders of the athletes and result in urination. The healthiest possible solution is to consume a maximum of 250 ml of water.
- After Running
This is the most important stage in fluid consumption because many athletes do not replace the fluid loss they do not realize due to fatigue after the run. A long distance runner must be able to consume extra fluid to equalize the amount of fluid lost after running during the day and even store energy for future performances in this direction.
As many researchers have emphasized, muscles are more efficient at producing glycogen within 30 minutes of long-term activities such as long distance running. This means that drinking water as well as consuming food after running is good for muscle pain and weakening.
In this context, it is necessary for the athlete to drink 2 glasses of water per weight loss and to consume this fluid abundantly for 36 hours after the run.
Should You Drink Electrolytes Before A Long Run?
The electrolyte is the name given to all water-soluble ions such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride, which have a great role in the normal functioning of the muscles, digestive system, and other body functions during difficult and long-term sports processes such as long distance running that the runners lose through sweating and a small amount of urine in the human body.
In this context, athletes who lose the most sodium electrolytes through sweating provide salt or salty food supplements, in other words, electrolyte supplements, 3 or 4 hours before the sport so that their running performance does not weaken.
On the other hand, while many professional runners recommend that athletes drink enough water instead of electrolytes before short-distance runs, they also emphasize that this serious loss of salt can be provided before long distance runs not to harm the performance and health of the athlete during running by being stored as both gel and chewable electrolytes.
Supportively, especially in long distance runners, since sodium is the electrolyte that causes the most loss through sweating, athletes should pay attention to their sodium balance.
Well, let’s talk about what kind of consequences can be encountered as a result of excessive reduction or excessive consumption of sodium electrolytes. First of all, when the amount of salt in the body reaches a much lower level than normal, the person becomes hypernatremia; if the person consumes too much on the other side, hyponatremia occurs.
In short, long distance runners should supplement the electrolytes that they will lose excessively during sports and evaluate this supplement rate according to factors such as height, and weight.
What Should I Drink Before A Long Run?
It has already been underlined that nutrition and fluid consumption are important so that the body can store the necessary energy before long distance running and not lose extra fluid during the performance. In light of this information, let’s talk about what foods runners can consume before the run and, more importantly, what they can drink as liquids!
Many professional coaches and nutritionists emphasize the appropriate and balanced consumption of necessary nutrients in order not to break the body’s resistance before long distance running and to meet sufficient energy during running.
In this context, according to many studies, it is stated that most of the calories taken by runners who work on endurance such as long distance running come from carbohydrates, followed by protein. It is also emphasized that the remaining calories should be met from the healthy fat.
Accordingly, a long distance runner can benefit from healthy fat sources such as starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, whole grain products, animal products such as chicken, fish, and yogurt, beans, avocados, nuts, or olive oil.
But as another important issue, in response to the question of what are the hydration tips for long distance runners? and for preventing dehydration during long runs, runners should be aware of the importance of proper hydration for endurance sports like long distance running.
So, the above-mentioned foods can be consumed as solids, and they play an important role in meeting the amount of fluid that athletes will lose and providing the necessary energy in healthy smoothies and shakes.
In other words, in addition to consuming sufficient water, long distance runners can meet the deficiencies in terms of fluids and at the same time store enough energy in their bodies, thanks to the smoothies they can obtain with a mixture and blend of healthy products such as banana, avocado, nuts, or vegetables during the day.
How Can I Stay Hydrated Without Peeing All the Time?
Many professional long distance runners emphasize that the answer to this question is based on solid preparation before the run. Accordingly, they underline that regularly taking the required fluid a few weeks before the run will ensure that the body also enters into an order and even a pattern, and in this context, one can increase the running performance without encountering the peeing problem too often.
This, of course, indicates that the runner will make a big mistake by trying to get enough fluid overnight, which he did not take long before the run.
So what can be done to regulate fluid consumption?
Fluid consumption charts can be used as a very simple answer to this question. For example, you can track your daily fluid consumption with the percentage of water in its content via many mobile applications, so you can get it in order.
In this direction, it will be ensured that your excretory system will be regulated and that the kidneys will not be overworked due to excess fluid and will function healthily without being damaged.
On the other hand, not experiencing body fluid loss is not just a water-related problem. Fresh fruit juices, herbal teas, and of course, the fact that all these are organic and sugar-free healthy products daily also help the person, and especially the athletes to prevent fluid loss and to consume fluids in other ways without just water.
Similarly, the smoothies mentioned above can be among the liquid products that can prevent frequent peeing and help in daily fluid consumption.
What Happens When Runners Drink Too Much Water?
Throughout the article, we emphasized how important it is to provide the necessary energy and fluid amount with plenty of water consumption, especially in long distance running. But have you ever thought about what would happen if runners drink too much liquid?
To answer the question; what are the hydration tips for long distance runners? it is necessary to mention what kind of problems the athletes will face due to being overhydrated.
Many studies have proven that athletes in long-term and endurance-based sports experience negative effects on their organs, especially kidneys, due to the decrease in sodium in their blood values as a result of excessive fluid consumption.
Accordingly, studies emphasize that the excess fluid accumulating in the kidneys causes excessive storage in the cells, resulting in edema in the athlete and that if these edemata reach the brain, it can lead to serious and risky consequences such as death.
On the other hand, as mentioned above, hyponatremia due to excessive intake of electrolytes is also a problem caused by drinking too much water. Similarly, cases of water intoxication due to excessive fluid consumption are also common among runners. In such cases, athletes may experience nausea, vomiting, psychotic symptoms, loss of consciousness, and mental problems.
If water intoxication continues, the person may experience hyponatremia and experience serious damage such as muscle weakness, spasms, cramping seizures, and even coma.
Consequently, as an endurance and resistance sport, in long distance running, athletes should pay attention to an adequate and appropriate amount of fluid consumption both before and after running.
In this direction, they should not take fluid at once by shocking the body, and they should put their body in a certain fluid consumption pattern long before running. In this direction, they should be able to balance their body systems with running performance.
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that runners may encounter risky results as a result of excessive fluid consumption.