What should I drink if I am a runner?

The 2020 season has been turned upside down, but fortunately, some official races remain or have been created, such as the races in the “On court Montréal” series, to keep you motivated to continue your training and to surpass yourself!

Since many of you may be tackling your first 10k or 21k in the August 22 race, you need to plan your hydration a little more than if you were doing a shorter distance. Very experienced runners and the best marathoners are able to perform spectacularly while being dehydrated, but the majority of runners are not!

What you eat and drink helps to maintain a good level of energy, to stay hydrated, to facilitate blood circulation which helps to nourish the muscles with oxygen and energy, while eliminating the waste produced during the effort, as well as to facilitate the absorption of carbohydrates and electrolytes such as sodium, the main electrolyte lost in sweat during exercise! Some people prefer water and others prefer sports drinks, the important thing is to choose what works for you. Here are a few tips :

Drinking before exercise:

Try to drink at least 2 cups (500ml) of fluid within 2 hours of exercise. Water, milk or vegetable drinks, juice, tea or coffee are included. Also increase your hydration in the days before the event.

What to drink during exercise:

The water needs of athletes vary a lot depending on:

  • Duration and intensity: Do you plan to reach the finish line in record time by going over your limits or are you going with moderate intensity and for fun?
  • The temperature: Is it very hot and humid or cool and dry?
  • Your sweat rate: is your cap or shirt covered in white crusts or are you losing a lot of weight on a long outing?
  • Your nutrient needs will increase if you run upwind, up hills, at high intensity, and if the weather is hot and humid.

How much ?

As a general rule, it is suggested to drink around 7-10 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of bodyweight per hour during exercise, usually at least 2 small bottles of 200-250ml or 5-7 glasses of 75ml per hour! Consider taking a few sips every 15-20 minutes and trust your thirst too.

What type of drinks ?

As carbohydrates are used to maintain your energy level during exercise, your performance will be optimized during a high intensity run of more than 1 hour / 1:30 if you consume an energy drink.
Sports drinks can be helpful during intense outings and heavy sweating, and some also provide more sodium or another source of carbohydrate through sports foods or products during your workout*. They contain carbohydrates at a concentration of about 4-8% (often fast sugars) of water and minerals (electrolytes).
Please note that some capsules only contain electrolytes without carbohydrates. Handy for short rides, but you need to make sure to compensate for long rides.

If you don’t like energy drinks, choose water and snacks or high carbohydrate products every hour of running to achieve at least 30g of carbohydrate instead:

  • 2 fig cookies or energy balls (20-25g of carbohydrates)
  • 1 bar of dried fruit Source fruit (30g of carbohydrates)
  • 2 large dates (30g of carbohydrates)
  • 1 gel or jujubes for sportsmen (variable)
  • 1 cup (250ml) of fruit juice, diluted with water (30g)
  • Homemade energy drink (developed by our team in partnership with Érable du Québec)

* For those who consume little or no carbohydrate in their diet, make sure your calorie intake (protein and fat) is sufficient and well tolerated before your run and bring only water. Your body is probably already used to performing under these constraints!

Hydrating after exercise:

Now is the time to rehydrate! The best indicator: drink until your urine is clear! This will save you a lot of headaches after considerable effort!

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