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May Zhu: 5 Things to Remember When Fueling for Summer Runs

Hydration is important regardless of the season, but when long training runs coincide with the long, hot days of summer preventing dehydration becomes critical. Here are five things to keep in mind as the mercury rises.

Pre-load.

A good rule of thumb is to drink at least two cups of water two hours (one cup per hour) before your run – giving you plenty of time to use the restroom prior to your workout.

Look at hydration as a continuous process.

Replace the water lost during the run by drinking fluids throughout the day. The easiest way to monitor hydration levels is through urine color and volume – darker shades of urine often indication dehydration, while lighter colors indicate more optimal hydration levels.

Add electrolytes.

When you sweat, you are also losing essential electrolytes and minerals. For longer runs, experiment with taking in sports drinks, electrolyte tablets, or salt pills to replace sodium, potassium and magnesium as you go.

Treat yourself.

You should ideally take in a recovery snack within 15 to 30 minutes of finishing a big workout to start the recovery process. Choose a drink or food with a carb to protein ratio of 4:1 to start replenishing the energy (think half a bagel with nut butter or a protein shake with fruit).

Pay attention.

If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Dehydration is especially common during the summer, so pay attention to your body. If you feel particularly faint, lightheaded, or nauseous, you may need to stop for a fluid break and find some shade.