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How to Hydrate

By now your training distance is increasing, along with the temperature outside. So hydration is more important than ever. There is a multitude of sports drinks, electrolyte tablets and supplements available these days, and some are more beneficial than others.

Keep in mind, not everyone needs to drink an entire bottle (16 or 32 ounces) of sports drink
before, during or after running. Thanks to our friends at Runner’s World (and an article in their July magazine) we have guidelines for what drinks (all available at grocery stores) you should consume based on how much time you run.

Running time:  0-60 minutes

Drink of choice:  Electrolyte tablets and water or a low-calorie sports drink

For runs shorter than 60 minutes, water and an occasional electrolyte supplement should suffice. When running less than 60 minutes, your body usually is able to cover the fluid and electrolyte loss without needing major replenishment.

Examples:  Nuun, CamelBak Elixer and Zym Endurance tablets

Running time:  1-2 hours

Drink of choice:  Sports drink (not low-calorie)

In this range of time, your body starts to run dry on its stored sugar supply. For electrolyte and fluid balance, make sure you pre-hydrate with a regular sports drink, not a low-calorie version.

Examples: Gatorade, PowerAde, Gleukos, Cytomax or GU2O Sports Drink

Running time: 2 or more hours

Drink of choice: Endurance sports drink

Endurance sports drinks are different from regular sports drinks because they contain additional electrolytes to offset the large loss that occurs when training this long.

Examples: Gatorade Endurance Formula and PowerBar Endurance

And, don’t forget about your post-run recovery drink. This should include protein and carbohydrates to assist the body’s rebuilding. Try a fruit smoothie with low-fat milk.

This tip is presented by Craig Souders and Jesse Schimmer, physical therapists at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

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