How to Hydrate During a Race

If you're going to participate in a race, one of the aspects that you should always keep in mind is hydration during the competition. Discover some tips that may help improve your performance and health.
How to Hydrate During a Race

Last update: 24 February, 2019

One of the million questions that runners ask, is how can they hydrate during a race? Since drinking liquid is essential during a competition and bringing a bottle with you may be difficult, we’ll give you some key points in this article.

Tips for hydrating during a race

There’s no doubt that one of the key moments in competitions is when suddenly we become very thirsty and don’t know what to do. Many runners make mistakes regarding hydration and then they suffer the consequences. That’s why you should pay attention to these tips on how to hydrate during a race.

1. Drink water before the competition

It isn’t necessary to drink two liters because you’ll then want to urinate and you won’t be able to finish the race. It’s good to drink a glass of water to endure the first kilometers of the competition without being thirsty.

It's important to drink water before the competition.

Undoubtedly, you must carry out proper hydration the days before and during training. This way, your body will arrive at the competition in the best possible condition.

2. Don’t skip the refreshment stations

We’re referring to the tables or stops where you can have a cup or bottle of water (or a beverage with electrolytes). In some cases, there are people who offer them to athletes as they pass.

One of the common mistakes is to skip one because at that moment you don’t feel thirsty or because you think you can wait until the next stop. However, dehydration begins long before the symptoms of dry mouth and the urge to drink water appear.

For some reason, these stations are at a certain distance and it isn’t something random, it’s intended for the welfare of the runners. Hence, pick up the container they offer you and drink it slowly while you keep running. It’s only a five-second delay that you’ll be infinitely thankful for!

3. Don’t carry your own drinks

The vast majority of races have a certain organization that provides for the athletes’ needs. Therefore, there will be water or drinks for you to consume during the race. If you decide to bring your own bottle of water, you will add more weight and you’ll be uncomfortable. Moreover, it can fall to the floor and cause another runner to stumble (not to mention the mess you will leave on the track).

4. Beware of the transit in the refreshment stations

Zigzagging and dodging athletes who pile up in front of the refreshments can generate accidents. For this reason, it’s very important that you pay attention to those who are behind or around you.

Keep in mind that hydration stations are usually on both sides of the road, so you can choose either of them. Additionally, the race organizer informs the runners so that they know how many kilometers exist between each water post. This way, you’ll be more prepared.

If you bring your own bottle, you'll be carrying additional weight.

5. Stop or continue?

This question is almost like Hamlet’s “to be or not to be”. Well, this mostly depends on each person’s condition upon arriving at the hydration stand. Some seize the opportunity to take a mini break of one minute (or less) and others slow down while they are drinking and taking small sips from the bottle or cup. In the first scenario, you should stand aside to let the others pass.

We do advise that you don’t try to drink all the liquid at once with the purpose of not losing seconds in the race. That can cause nausea or discomfort.

Being able to hydrate in a race is very important if we want to reach the finish line in good condition. Drinking a little at each station will prevent thirst and the irrepressible urge to urinate.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.