Summer is officially here! Running in the summer requires special care to avoid health issues such as dehydration, hyponatremia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

It is vital that we stay well-hydrated not only for our running performance but for our overall health.  Signs that you may be dehydrated include excessive thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, decreased volume and darker urine, fatigue, headache and dizziness. Drinking water throughout each day is the best way to stay hydrated.

How much should we drink?
There are a few general guidelines to drinking. Three of these guidelines are drinking eight eight-ounce glasses per day, drinking 2/3 of your body weight in ounces per day, or men should drink 125 ounces and women should drink 91 ounces. One should consider other sources of water like other beverages or fruit when determining how much to drink.

Monitoring your urine output and color, which should be light yellow, is a quick, easy way to know if we’re drinking enough during the day.  Dark yellow or orange urine is a sign of dehydration.

Special considerations for runners
Athletes need to drink more that the average person particularly in the summer since we lose water through sweat. To determine how much additional water you should consume while exercising, calculate your sweat rate. Before a run of at least 30 minutes (an hour would be ideal), weigh yourself without clothes. Run as you normally would and drink water if you need to. Weigh yourself again without clothes after you run and after you have stopped sweating. The difference in your weight plus anything you had to drink between weigh-ins is your sweat rate. Use this as a guide to determine how much water you drink immediately before or during your run. You should plan to drink during runs longer than 45 minutes.

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