Water is intrinsically linked to the proper functioning of our bodies, which are up to 60% water. For sports people, this principle is of crucial importance for their well-being, performance and recovery, especially in all sports where the effort is over a prolonged period of time and is performed in unfavourable and dehydrating weather conditions.
In short: summer running must above all take account of frequent and practical opportunities for adequately hydrating, otherwise there will not only be a drop in performance but real health risks.
Consider the fact that with just 2% dehydration there is a significant drop-off in sporting performance.
In summer, most fluids are dissipated to perform the body’s thermo-regulation function. It is very easy at this time of year for the body to exceed its normal temperature range (36-37.2C°), and in response to this, the body sweats.
Sweat is not just water, it also contains various substances such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, which are very important to our body.
In an hour of running, you can lose several litres of fluids, so we can see why we have to take action to limit the losses, replacing them as much as possible and in the most appropriate way.
Fluids must be replaced in an appropriate manner so it is important to listen to your body and to rehydrate with the right amount, wherever possible. So avoid under-hydrating whilst running, perhaps because you don’t like stopping too often or because there is no possibility (choose suitable routes and prepare everything before training to ensure you are not caught out) and at the same time avoid drinking at breaks in excessive amounts compared to our actual needs.
In this case, it is better to drink the quantity we need and stop again further on. Advice that seems fundamental but isn’t, where the word balance and knowing how to listen correctly to your needs, become key factors, as you will realise.
In addition, since sweating not only expels water, it would be ideal to first prepare a drink containing substances such as potassium and magnesium, so as to encourage adequate and effective rehydration. Of course, the conditions in which you run are also key for this process: avoid the hottest times of the day and favour routes with plenty of shade but even if you run in pine forests all of the rules and precautions described so far still apply. In extreme heat conditions, it is best to wet your hair before and during the session and to cool down at fountains, in addition to the hydration tips described above.