Why You Should Hydrate Before, During, And After Your Run

why you should hydrate

Our bodies are incredible. No matter if you’re running a marathon or relaxing watching a movie, our bodies are constantly regulating our internal temperature through breath, hormones, and even sweat. 

Although we naturally lose fluid throughout the day whenever we sweat and breathe, the act of performing such physically intense exercise, such as running, causes us to dehydrate faster than normal.

While it’s completely normal to be slightly dehydrated for short periods of time while running, it’s important to replace the fluid as quickly as possible.  Not only will proper and frequent hydration help keep you healthy, but it can also significantly improve your training. So why is hydration key to helping you be your best active self? Let’s dive in a little deeper. 

Benefits of Hydrating

Water is obviously one of the most important pillars when it comes to living a healthy life as it performs countless functions from nourishing cells to regulating body temperature.  On the other hand, dehydration can cause all sorts of negative physical symptoms such as fatigue, headache, or light-headedness.  This can not only hinder your athletic performance, but can also cause negative health problems in the long term if you’re frequently dehydrated.

Hydrating is particularly essential for runners in that it can help improve your PRs. Count us in! In fact, a study from the University of North Alabama showed that runners who rehydrated 150% of their sweat loss after a run had faster run times the next morning than the runners who only rehydrated 75% of their sweat loss.  On average, their run times were a 3% improvement when fully hydrated.  When you’re a marathon or competitive runner, that extra 3% can make all the difference.

How Much Should You Drink?

Unfortunately, there’s no universal rule about how much you should drink to stay properly hydrated during your run. It’s important not to overindulge in water, as this can also cause potential health problems.  Hyponatremia is when your blood sodium levels are low, usually caused by drinking too much water.  A good way to avoid hyponatremia is to consume some of your fluids through coconut water that contains sodium or electrolytes.  It’s also a good idea to listen to your body when drinking, and not to force extra water on yourself during a run just because you think you should be drinking more.

When Should You Drink?

While it’s good to have a ballpark idea of how much water you should be drinking throughout the day based on your body size and activity levels, you should also have a plan to hydrate before, during, and after your run.  This way you can make sure you’re properly hydrated throughout your run, rather than just chugging water at the end to recover.  

The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after exercise: Before a run, you should have about 17 to 20 ounces of water about two hours ahead of time, preferably paired with a meal or a snack.  Then, 20 minutes before your run, have an additional six to eight ounces of water. During your run, there’s no set amount of water that you should have.  If you’re running for longer than an hour, you should drink water at regular intervals.  This may mean 7 to 10 ounces every 15 minutes, or even as many as 16 ounces every 15 minutes depending on how much you sweat.  If you’re running for over an hour, you’ll also want some carbs and electrolytes, either by consuming sports drinks or a small snack.  After your run, you should have at least 8 ounces of water no longer than 30 minutes after. 

how much to drink

Hydrating During Your Run

Staying hydrated during your run can be tricky, as bringing a backpack often weighs you down, which is especially disadvantageous when running long distances. But that’s where SPIbelt is here to help. If you’re running with a SPIbelt to hold your essentials, you can add on an SPI H20 Companion water bottle.  The Companion is designed to contour to your body and clip onto any SPIbelt without bouncing.  It holds 8 ounces of water, which is perfect to help get a bit of hydration in the middle of an hour-long run.  It’s also dishwasher safe on the top rack, so you can easily keep it clean and fresh whenever you need it.

The Distance PRO SPIbelt is another great way to keep everything you need with you during those long distance runs without being weighed down.  The Distance PRO combines the Performance PRO SPIbelt with two of the Companion water bottles, allowing you to stay hydrated throughout even longer runs.  Whether you’re hiking through the mountains for a couple of hours or running a marathon, you’ll be able to carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your activities.  The belt pocket is even big enough to carry larger smartphones, making it the ideal belt for anyone who needs extra space to carry essentials on the go.


spi h20 companion

Overall, when it comes to staying hydrated as a runner, here are our top recommendations: 

  • Proper hydration can help you better tackle your next PR
  • The key to hydration is to continuously drink water throughout the day.  
  • Drink water before, during, and after your run, as your body can only use so much water at any one time  
  • While there are no hard and fast rules to how much you should hydrate during a run, if you listen to your body you should be able to figure out a good routine that helps you maximize performance

The next time you’re off for a run with one of our SPIbelts, make sure you’ve got a full Companion water bottle with you to help you stay hydrated!