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Staying Away from Dehydration

The heat is back and that means hydration comes into play with your exercise program. A water bottle or hydration pack is critical. The symptoms of dehydration are cramps, dizziness, and fatigue.

Before your workout

Have an energy bar an hour before you start your workout. You can take a sports gel 30 minutes prior to the workout. Drink two cups (16 ounces) of fluids two hours before exercise. Most people sweat 24 to 32 ounces an hour while exercising.

During your workout

Take 4 ounces per mile. It is hard to catch up once you fall behind in your fluid intake.

Fluid should be based on flavor and content. The flavor is what taste you prefer or what you have used in training.

The content is a performance drink like Gatorade Endurance or Ironman Perform which are high in sodium concentration. The salt will help move fluids through your system. The performance drink will replenish electrolytes. The carbohydrates and electrolytes in a sports drink also help you absorb the fluids faster.

If you get dry mouth, that’s a sign you’re getting dehydrated.

Drink an additional 16 ounces for each pound lost. For example, if you drank 8 oz. while exercising for 60 minutes and lost one pound, your goal is to drink an additional 16 oz. during your next workout.

By weighing yourself before and after exercise, you can estimate the volume of fluid your body requires to remain hydrated during exercise.

It’s important not to over-hydrate. Too much water can lead to hyponatremia, which is when excess water in our bodies dilutes the sodium content of our blood.

After your workout

The recovery drinking should be within 15 minutes after finishing. Consume fluids over the next four to six hours.

Quality training will lead to improved performance.

Knowing the above, the question of how to run and train during hot weather comes up. The more you train in the type of weather in which you will race, the more your body will adjust. The training should be in moderation. You can start by doing a mile at a slow pace and take fluids while running. You can do the mile over a week and then the following week you can increase your distance to two miles.

You can continue to increase the miles until you reach the distance at which you will race. The majority of the races will be in the morning hours, which will most likely be cooler, but as the morning progresses the temperature will increase. As this happens you will need to increase the fluid intake.

One item to note: If you train and race using sports gel, you should take it with fluids because it will lead to dehydration without taking fluids.

While you are in the race, be sure that you run at that pace at which you trained and do not get caught up by others around you. If you attempt to run at a level at which you have not trained, you will find that you quickly get fatigued and start to slow.


  • George Banker

    George Banker is the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), the second largest 10-mile road race in the United States. Since 2003, his responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler, he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant), where his experience included ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, senior writer for the Runner’s Gazette, contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and He is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition”. He is an avid runner, with 114 marathons completed. You can find our more about him at


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