Hydration Tips For Runners in the Summer

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If you are outside running this summer, you need to read these hydration tips for runners. Taking care of your body and hydrating is essential. While this post is sponsored by Florida Milk, all opinions are my own.

How to stay hydrated when running

Hydration Tips For Runners in the Summer

In the summer months, climbing temperatures can make outdoor exercise more strenuous and even potentially hazardous, especially an outdoor exercise like running. Fortunately, measures can be taken to prevent heat-related problems like dehydration, exhaustion, and cramps and ensure that the summer months are both enjoyable and healthful for runners. The easiest way to stay hydrated especially during the summer is to drink before you get thirsty, all muscles including your heart require fluids to work efficiently.

The heat index here in Florida today is over 100 degrees. That’s not just warm, it’s H-O-T. I mean really hot. But I still need to get outside for my regular exercise, and I need to be smart about it. Staying hydrated is always important, but it’s even more so in the hot summer months.  So to help keep all my fellow runners running I wanted to share some tips that will help with hydration and staying healthy.

Best Hydration Tips For Runners in Summer

Here are hydration tips for runners (actually all athletes):

Understanding The Value Of Hydration

Maintaining adequate levels of hydration is the single most important measure to take in preventing heat injuries and drinking a sufficient amount of water throughout the day, and while running is crucial in higher temperatures. Drinking plenty of fluids before exercise, then a cupful every 10-15 minutes while running. It is best to either bring along water or to plan a running route that passes several water fountains.

After running, replace fluids with both water and a recovery drink, such as chocolate milk, which replenishes the body’s electrolytes and carbohydrates that were lost through sweat. It is important to note that beer, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks do not count toward the suggested 6-8 glasses of water per day, as both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics that contribute to overall fluid loss. So, drink your water and replenish needed nutrients with chocolate milk.

The overall benefits of hydration include: reduces daily fatigue, hydration promotes better performance, agility, and reaction time, ensures proper regulation of body temperature and being properly hydrated decreases daily stress on heart and reproves recovery time.

Allow Yourself To Get Acclimatized

In addition to hydration, several other factors are also important in maintaining a healthy jogging regimen in the summertime, the first being acclimatization. It takes at least two weeks of consistent running in heat and humidity for the body to adjust to warmer temperatures. It is best for runners to be patient in the early weeks, and even throughout the summer as they adjust their regimen to new conditions.

What To Wear

Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing is important as well. Darker fabrics tend to trap heat near the body, whereas light-colored garments dissipate heat more easily. Runners should consider investing in micro-fiber clothing that wicks sweat away from the body, allowing for more comfortable exercise. Sunscreen is also essential, especially if joggers plan to be outside for lengthier runs. Waterproof, high-SPF varieties are best.

Consider The Timing Of Your Run

Another consideration for summer months is the time of day that runners choose to exercise. Temperatures peak mid-day, which means that running in the early morning or in the evening are better options for minimizing the sun’s potential harms. Air quality is also an important concern. Ozone levels rise at dawn, peak mid-day, and spike again in the early evening. Avoiding exercise between noon and 3 p.m. will reduce the risks associated with poor air quality and high temperatures.

Understanding Fluid Loss

Sweating is the body’s cooling mechanism, so hot weather exercise, especially running, will cause significant fluid loss. Replacing the lost fluids and electrolytes is important; not doing so can lead to heat exhaustion or potentially fatal heatstroke.  Runners need to replace fluids lost working out in hot weather, actually in any weather!

One easy way to estimate how much fluid you need to replace after a run is to simply weigh yourself before and after running. Sweat soaked clothing will throw off the weight reading, so weigh yourself nude and towel off excess sweat. Every 2 pounds of weight loss is approximately a quart of liquid, or in metric units, 1 kilogram is a liter. Remember to account for the fluids you drank during the run.

Guidelines for hydration to remember are: Drink 15 – 20 ounces of fluids within 1-2 hours prior to event or exercise, for every hour of exercise drink 16 – 36 ounces of fluid including 8 ounces of electrolyte containing fluid and shoot for 16 – 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost.

Be Mindful Of Calories Consumed Replacing Fluids

For a 150 pound person, a five-mile run will burn about 500 calories. In hot weather, losing 4 (or more) pounds of fluid is likely. The runner must, therefore, drink about a half gallon to replace the fluids lost in this run.

You can find the calorie content of a half-gallon of your favorite beverage by reading the nutrition label, remembering that there are 8 cups or 64 fluid ounces in a half-gallon, and doing the math. The number of calories in a half-gallon of some beverages is given below:

Apple juice 940
Beer, light 550
Beer, regular 820
Coca Cola 780
Coffee, latte 780
Cranberry juice cocktail 1100
Gatorade 400
Grape juice 1230
Grapefruit juice 920
Lemonade 1050
Orange juice 840
Pineapple juice 1050
Tomato juice 330
Water 0

Notice that with the exceptions of tomato juice, Gatorade, and water, a runner will consume more calories replacing the lost half gallon of fluids than the 500 calories burned running five miles.  So, be mindful of how you replenish the fluids, and be sure to replenish nutrients as well.

Many runners and athletes drink low-fat chocolate milk after their workout because it helps restore muscles quickly and it helps replenish what the body loses during exercise — including fluids, important nutrients and electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium) lost in sweat. Plus, it’s more cost-effective than sports drinks.

Best Hydration Tips For Runners

Why Grab For Chocolate Milk

Chocolate Milk (actually plain milk too)  provides many key nutrients that can help support recovery post-workout. Milk contains electrolytes including calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium to help replenish what’s lost in sweat, as well as fluids to help you rehydrate. In fact, research shows drinking milk after exercise could restore and maintain hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages, including sports drinks and water. Researchers suggest it’s due to milks natural electrolyte content and its 90% water. And again, chocolate milk is more cost-effective 😉

Listen To Your Body

Paying attention to these tips will help you ease the transition from cool spring temperatures, allowing you to slowly adjust to running in the heat. However, as always, it is crucial for each individual to listen to their own body and take breaks when necessary. Taking it easy and being mindful of the conditions can help sustain a running regimen through the heat, ensuring the runner’s high throughout the entire summer.  And be sure to hydrate and rehydrate!  Grab for a glass of chocolate milk and give your body what it needs.

Hydration Tips For Runners

Do you typically run in the summer months?  What is one of your tips for staying hydrated in the summer?

Learn more about Nutrition Tips For Runners.

Be sure to check out the upcoming races and Built with Chocolate Milk in the Event section here.

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Hydration Tips For Runners in the Summer

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