By Pamela Mazzuca HBSc. Kin, Athletic Therapist
If hydration is not something you give much thought to in the winter months, you are not alone. Most runners assume that because they tend not to sweat as much in the colder temperatures that their water requirements decrease. However, the importance of proper hydration does not change as the temperatures plummet. In fact, you lose more water in the colder months because the air is so dry, making hydration more of a concern.
Proper hydration is necessary for optimal training and performance. When you are hydrated your heart works efficiently to pump your blood to where it needs to go and helps your muscles function optimally. You will have the energy to train at the level you want to and it will allow for better recovery and sleep. Generally speaking, you should strive to consume 3-4 litres of water every day. If you run for an hour or less than plain water is enough to stay hydrated but if your run is passing the one hour mark you will need to ensure you are also replacing electrolytes and carbohydrates.
Drink first thing
Keep a full glass (10 – 12 oz) of water beside your bed and drink it before you even get up and get your day started. It sure beats having to drag yourself out of your warm bed and it tops up your hydration levels before you even head out for your morning run, putting you ahead of the game.
Eat plenty of fruit
Fruit is comprised mostly of water, making it a great source for hydration. Apples and pears are made up of 84% water, while clementines are made up of 87%. Plus they are packed full of vitamins, which can help boost your immune system, which is an added bonus during this terrible cold and flu season.
If you are tired of plain old water than try infusing it with strawberries, cucumbers, mint, lemon or anything else you enjoy to help the water go down with more pleasure.
Warm it up
Adding an herbal tea into your day is a warm and tasty way to increase your water intake. Having a quick tea before your run can help ward off that initial frosty feeling as you step out the door. And a tea after your run can certainly help boost your body temperature and rid yourself of any lingering post-run bone chills.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics and can increase your risk of dehydration. Try to limit yourself to just two coffees a day.
Signs you might need to boost your water intake pronto:
Post run headache
Decrease energy levels