Do I Need a Sports Drink or Simply Water?

Posted by Valerie 02/06/2016 0 Comment(s) Articles,
If you are running more than 90 minutes you need to consume a drink with electrolytes.  Electrolyte drinks like PowerAde or Gatorade contain sodium and potassium.  Electrolytes help your body retain fluids and may prevent muscle cramps.
Runners who don't replace enough electrolytes during long runs are at risk of over-hydration. Hyponatremia, which is low blood sodium concentration, can occur when runners drink excessive amounts of water and don't replace salt lost through sweat.
The current advice about running and hydration is simple; try to drink to thirst. Scientific evidence says that drinking when you're thirsty can help prevent underhydrating (which can lead to dehydration) and overhydrating, which can lead to hyponatremia (low blood salt level due to abnormal fluid retention).

If you're looking for a general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during your runs: take in 120 to 180mls of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. If you are running faster than 5 minute kilometers aim to drink 180 to 240mls every 20 minutes.

During runs of more than 90 minutes alternate between sports drinks and water. For shorter runs, hydrating with plain water is fine.

Another benefit of sports drinks is that they contain carbohydrates. If you are running over 90 minutes you need to be consuming calories, drinking a sports drink will help you take in some of these needed calories. Some runners find it's easier to get calories through liquids rather than solid foods, especially during the later stages of a long run or race.

Reference: Christine Luff, Guide March 26, 2013


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