Food, Fuel & Running Blog: Water water everywhere!

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Perhaps there is no more poignant time to discuss the need for proper hydration than now in what seems to be an amazing summertime.  We all know we need to drink plenty of the stuff but why is it so important?

The human body is made up of about two thirds of water and it is essential for every reaction that takes place within our cells.  It is also responsible for the carriage of all our nutrients and the removal of waste.  Therefore as runners it is pretty obvious why we need to drink plenty to get us through our training and races.  But as I am often asked by my Plodders when they are preparing for a race is how much do we need and is there such thing as too much?

In our normal daily lives we need to consume about 1.2 litres of fluid a day and we should aim to get this mainly from water as opposed to juices and fizzy drinks.  However if running you need to make sure you drink more to replace the fluids lost through sweating and increased activity within our cells as a result of exercise.  This may be obvious in the summer when the sweating is more obvious but is just as important in the colder days too when we may not realise how much fluid we are losing.

Watery facts

  • Dehydration is a runner’s enemy as it leads to a reduction in performance.  Just a 1% reduction in hydration levels can lead to a reduction in mental and physical performance - not what you need when out on a run or in a race.
  • During a run try to consume 120ml every 20 minutes to prevent dehydration.  
  • However a word of warning - Drink to suit thirst but don’t overdo it!  Excessive fluid intake can dilute the levels of salts in our bodies causing a potentially lethal electrolyte imbalance – hypotranaemia.
  • If you are running for more than 90 minutes try to think about replacing your salt levels (electrolytes) as well as fluids by sipping an energy drink which contains electrolytes.
  • I like to freeze my water the night before a run and take it out early to defrost so I have ice cold water to sip on my plod.  
  • Its not all about the glass though - we can get water from our foods and super sources of this are – cucumber (95%), salad leaves 90%), water melon (92%)  and strawberries  (91%) – so eat to hydrate too!

Watery recipes

Why not try these amazing recipes to get some of your daily water intake from your food.

Boost your water intake with a breakfast strawberry shake:

Really go for the plunge with this water laden lunch:

Lou ShannonPlodder Leader – Lou Shannon (AKA Mother Hen)

BSc Hons Biomedical Science

Lou set up Plodders in Halton in April 2012 with the support of Sport Cheshire through the Run England programme. With a background in fitness, nutrition and health Lou combines her industry experience and job as a food and health officer to support her Plodding community to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their overall wellbeing.


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