A Hydration Cheat Sheet
While every athlete will require different amounts of fluid to stay hydrated for exercise, there are some general recommendations that can serve as a starting point as you figure out what works for you.
Before Exercise: Drink to thirst throughout the day, and 15 minutes before exercise, drink 8 to 10 ounces of water.
During Exercise: Drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes. For efforts longer than one hour, substitute or alternate water with a sport drink containing electrolytes and carbohydrates.
After Exercise: Drink 20 to 24 ounces of water immediately after exercise, along with your recovery meal. Drink to thirst for the remainder of the day.
If you’re training for a race, a hydration strategy should be practiced with the same importance as your speed workouts and long slow runs. If you don’t plan to carry your own bottles during a race, purchase the nutrition that will be offered on the course (say, GU Brew) to drink during your training in order to know how your body will react to the beverage. If you really want to dial in your nutrition, research where the aid stations will be on the race course. On longer training rides or runs, drink only at the mile markers where aid stations will be available on race day.
What’s your hydration-for-exercise strategy? Do you stick to water or have a go-to sports drink? —Susan