Hydration through Winter Training

Photo comliments of runneracademy.com

Photo compliments of runneracademy.com

We talk about hydration often.  If you’ve ever visited our store, there is a good chance we have chatted you up about the effects of fluid loss during exercise. Winter temperatures in NJ can be anywhere from 30-90 degrees F lower than the rest of the year, but trust me; you’re sweating out more fluid than you may think. 

Cold temperatures can create some extra challenge in managing your hydration plan for runs that are 60mins or more.  Not ignoring that shorter runs for less experienced runners can result in as much fluid loss. Simply, your 45min run could cause you to lose the same amount of fluid as my 90min run. So just because you don’t feel thirsty, doesn’t mean that you aren’t being affected by fluid loss.  It seems like it is just…less, but still hydration and rehydration are important, don’t ignore them. 

What many runners do not realize is;  when you are dehydrated, your internal body temperature will also drop. This will lead to greater fagiue hypothermia and/or frostbite.  It requires energy for your body to heat up cold fluids that you drink.  Being colder and less hydrated will sap you of energy stores faster, another reason to ensure proper hydration piror to the start of a run.

As you would imagine, your effort to maintain a certain pace will be more demanding, at freezing temperatures pace will be affected by 1-2%, and an additional 1-2% for every 10 degree increment below that point.  This sounds minimal, but what it means is, relax. Don’t be frustrated by running a slower pace on colder days. It is just harder on the body and you might be overworking yourself to maintain a specific goal pace.

But you say, “My water bottle freezes while I’m running on sub-freezing days”
Solutions: Buy a insulator sleeve for your water bottle, Fill your bottle with warm water. Or, if you’re not too serious about a non-stop run; just do a loop where you can run back into your house to drink something that isn’t near freezing.  Another way to deal with the bottle getting cold is to carry it under your jacket against your skin.

Happy Running,
Mike A

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