How much should we drink during a race?

Drink during a race

The hydration during a race is essential to compensate for the fluid we lose through sweat. While dehydration is negative so is drinking. How do we know what is the right measure?

If you are someone who regularly practiced running you know the importance that is being well hydrated before, during and after training. The amount of fluid we lose during a race depends on our physical conditions, atmospheric characteristics of the site, such as temperature and humidity, and the intensity and duration of exercise. Nevertheless there are some general recommendations such as not drinking more liquid than cast out with sweating, i.e. we must maintain a slight dehydration. Excess water can end up in hyponatremia, swelling of the cells by having too much liquid can lead to vomiting and heart failure.

Drink during a race
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Breakeven in terms of hydration refers is called euhydration, a normal level of plasma electrolytes. Food intake and enough fluids during the 12 hours before a race should be enough to face the workout but if for any reason at that time have not received adequate hydration would be enough to drink between 5 and 7 ml of water each kilo of body weight. If urine is dark in color we increase the amount of water, if it is too light means we have excess fluid. Remember that salty foods as snacks increase the sensation of thirst and fluid retention.

More or less sweating also depend on the type of clothing we use, atmospheric factors, genetic features … Most experts recommend a simple advice: drink whenever thirsty. The sensation of thirst is a mechanism to alert the body that warns us that are losing excess fluids and you need to hydrate, so it is necessary to drink but in small amounts and for short periods, must never drinking cold turkey liters of water or isotonic drinks.

But many runners may distrust their thirst. Some people may be thirsty and yet maintain adequate hydration to finish the training. To calculate how much fluid you simply must drink as runner can perform the following checks before running:

  • Weigh yourself naked before training.
  • Keep an intensity of competition for an hour, which is the average time to find out what our sweat rate, i.e. how much fluid you lose in that time.
  • Measured in millimeters how much fluid you need at that time.
  • Weigh yourself naked after the race and subtract to that obtained before training. Throw in the amount of liquid that you need and get your sweat rate.
  • Divide your sweat rate four to get the amount of fluid you should drink every 15 minutes of running.

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Sweat rate changes depending on the humidity and heat, so it is advisable to repeat this exercise on days with different weather situations to know how much fluid to drink as the weather. If the weigh yourself after training have gained a few grams it means you’ve drunk too much and can fall in hyponatremia.

After training food intake and regular liquids should serve to restore moisture balance, but if not we should drink a liter and a half of water per kilo of weight lost. In these situations are recommended isotonic drinks or energy high in sodium intake and even savory snacks to stimulate thirst.

In addition to this way of calculating the amount of fluid we need are some general guidelines. So in the case of running runners weighing up to 50 kg should drink 430 ml of water during a race of 8.5 km and a quart if it is 15 km, taking into account an average temperature of 18° C. If our weight is up to70 kg these amounts of liquid will 650ml and 1 liter and 250 ml respectively. Weighing up to 90 kg will be 860 ml and 1 liter and 850 ml. We must bear in mind that at higher temperatures need even more liquid and that our clothing, humidity and also influences our physical condition, but hydration is essential for good performance. For more tips visit