Fueling Up for Broad Street: Nutrition Series – Hydration

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Fueling Up for Broad Street: Nutrition Series, Tip #2 Hydration

Did you know drinking water is important? Yes. Did you know that up to 60% of the human body is water? Maybe. Do you actually drink enough water? Probably not. Let’s talk about exactly how much water you should be drinking, and why it is so important, especially if you are training for the Broad Street run!

Normally, we should drink about 0.5 – 1 ounces of water a day for every pound we weigh.  For those training for Broad Street and running or exercising consistently, the amount should be on the higher end. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should drink about 75 – 150 ounces of water each day, or about 9 – 19 cups of water. And no, this does not include coffee, tea, or any drinks other than pure water (yes, you can add a lemon or lime).

Water is needed during exercise for many reasons. Water eliminates heat that builds up in our bodies as we exercise, transports oxygen and nutrients to our muscles, and transports waste products away from our muscles. This allows our muscles to work at a high capacity, and to avoid fatigue during endurance exercise. Being hydrated for the Broad Street run is even more important since the run is in May, and with this crazy weather, it might be very hot outside. Heat can increase the amount of water that our body loses per hour more than 10-fold. Because of this, heat increases the risk of dehydration, which increases fatigue and makes the work our muscles have to do seem much harder. 

So, how can you stay hydrated during your training and during the actual race? During training, and especially days leading up to longer runs (over one hour), make sure that you are following the guidelines of drinking 0.5 – 1 ounces of water for every pound of weight, and try to aim for an amount closer to 1 ounce of water per pound. 

During training runs, practice what you will do on race day.  Drink water when you are thirsty – your thirst mechanism should work for a run of a 10 mile or less length.  However, if you don’t feel thirsty at any point, and are running for longer than one hour, make sure to drink 6-12 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes to avoid dehydration. Another trick to try on your long training runs is having water with added carbohydrate (sugar), or added electrolytes. The sugar may help improve endurance by providing some glucose for your body to use as energy, and the electrolytes can increase water absorption, and stimulate thirst so that you drink enough water.  When picking a supplemental drink, make sure that the carbohydrate is diluted, for example, Gatorade.  Having a concentrated carbohydrate drink, like fruit juice, can upset your stomach and cause unwanted pains during the run.  I want to emphasize, however, that it is important to try supplementing water intake with these drinks on your training runs before the actual race so that you know exactly how your stomach and body will react.

Ideally, during your training run and/or race, you will drink enough water to avoid losing more than 2% of your body weight (tip: if you want to see if you are drinking enough during a run, weigh yourself before and after!).  This will help avoid dehydration and help your body perform at its best. After the run or race is over, be sure to drink 2-3 cups of water for every pound lost.  If you track your weight loss during a few training runs of similar length to the Broad Street race, you will have a good idea of exactly how much water you should drink before reaching for that refreshing beer at the finish line!


by  Lizzy Greener
Lizzy is a Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue and is studying to become a Registered Dietitian.