June got off to a rainy start in North Texas. But summer usually brings heat, humidity and lots of sweat. Staying hydrated requires more than a water bottle. You need a plan to keep your cool while running in Texas during the summer.
The last post in this series explored the dangers of drinking too much water, which can lead to hyponatremia. However, runners still need to make sure they’re drinking enough while running in the Texas heat.
For long training runs, you’ll want to consider what to drink and whether to carry it or plan your water stops.
What to drink while running in Texas
Experts debate endlessly whether runners should choose water or sports drinks for those long, hot runs. (Of course, some of those “experts” have a vested interest.) But the consensus seem to lean toward water as the best choice–readily available and less caloric.
Whichever you choose, sprinkling a bit of salt into your routine may help ward off hyponatremia.
When to drink while in Texas
Depending on where you run, access to water can pose a challenge. Basically, you have two options: carry it with you or plan your stops. If you opt for the first, so-called “hydration systems” come in all shapes and sizes. These include handheld bottles, belts, vests or backpack-style systems. Runner’s World magazine reviews some of the best picks in this article.
If you choose to plan your stops, a city park or trail with water fountains offers a good option. Just make sure they work. The last thing you want is to get 10 miles into a 20-miler only to find the fountain you were counting on doesn’t function. Some runners also “plant” water bottles at strategic points along their route. You could even use an inexpensive cooler to keep your drinks icy cold.
Drink early and often
In addition to drinking on the run, a good hydration strategy should begin in the days prior. Blogger Christy Robinson, who has lots of experience running in Texas, offers some great insight. Learning to hydrate every day, she writes, revealed the “missing component” in her running.
Finally, it bears repeating that you should always listen to your body. Telltale signs of dehydration include a dull headache, muscle cramps and nausea. Heed these warning signs and cut your run short if necessary. Summer will present plenty of opportunities for running in Texas.