NOV 18, 2020

Hydration for runners by VOOM Nutrition

by Beau Smith

The link between effective hydration and sporting performance if clear and proven, and hydration deficits as small as 2% can cause affecting reductions in mental and physical performance. If you want to perform your best for ISORACE III, read on for a lesson in hydration.

When we talk about hydration most people know they should drink more water to stay hydrated but if you’re exercising this isn’t always enough, and that’s where electrolytes come in. Electrolytes are five vital minerals that are important in your body for fluid uptake and retention, regular nervous system function, energy-yielding metabolism and normal muscular function. They are Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium and Chloride, and each is used for slightly different purposes.

Now here’s the catch: your sweat contains these essential electrolyte salts and during intense exercise you can lose up to 1-2 litres of sweat every hour. When electrolytes start to be depleted your running is quickly going to suffer. Dehydration and electrolyte loss have been linked to muscle cramp but dehydration can also cause a reduction in blood volume, an increase in core temperature, increased heart rate and increased glycogen (energy) use. None of these effects are going to particularly pleasant, nor will they help your running performance, so being properly hydrated is worth the effort.

Research has shown the fastest hydration is achieved with a hypotonic drink containing water, electrolytes and importantly some glucose too. Hypotonic means the drink has a lower concentration of salt and sugars than the blood, and as a result the water is quickly absorbed into the body. The inclusion of some glucose accelerates hydration because active co–transport of glucose and sodium molecules can speed up absorption through the small intestine.

In order to achieve optimal hydration we’d recommend sipping on an electrolyte drink in the hours before the race. Aim to consume around 500ml between your final meal (usually around 3hours before) and starting the event, and for anything longer than 60minutes we’d recommend consuming 400-800ml per hour during the race to maintain good hydration. The exact amount is down to personal preference and the drink should be sipped gradually rather than in downed in one go or a few large gulps, in order to avoid any stomach discomfit whilst running.

If you aren’t too into the science and are simply wondering what you should drink to perform at your best, we recommend our VOOM Hydrate Smart electrolyte drink. Each 500ml serving contains 460mg full spectrum electrolytes (all five minerals) balanced to closely and therefore replace those lost in sweat, some glucose and it comes in a refreshing lemon and lime flavour made with real fruit. Good luck in your next event and remember - hydrate to win! #VoomInPowerUp