Should You Drink Water Before Running?

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Fueling your body before a run, no matter how big or small will help you perform at a higher level and feel better while doing it.

A lot of people wonder whether they should drink water before a run.

They worry that too much water will slosh around in their stomachs and slow them down, but also worry about going out dehydrated and getting cramps halfway through their run.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional runner or an amateur trying to get out on a trail to get in shape, listening to your body and hydrating appropriately are keys to a successful run.

The question of should you drink water before running depends on how much water you’re drinking, how soon before the run you drink, and how quickly you drink it.

If you’re wondering how to get your water consumption before a run just right, we’ve put together some information to help guide you.

Getting it right will keep you running longer and feeling terrific while you’re out there.

runner drinks water from a bottle

How Much Water Is Ok to Drink Before Running?

The main issue with drinking before you run is thinking you can binge drink before a run to make up for the water you didn’t drink all week.

Can you drink too much water before a run? Absolutely.

It’s a rookie mistake that runners of all levels still make to this day. They try to cram in water before a run hoping it will seep into their muscles in time.

What you should do, instead, is drink a lot of water throughout the week.

If you’re running a lot, then you should drink more! Shoot for at least one gallon of water each day to stay well-hydrated.

It will probably be hard to take down that much water at first, but your body will get used to it in time. You can add some sugar-free powders to add flavor that will make it easier to drink.

If you keep up with your hydration, then drinking water before a run won’t be such a huge deal.

You can drink a normal amount to get you through the run, but won’t feel the need to fill your stomach with water that will likely ruin your run.

female runner with towel drinking water from bottle

Will Drinking Water Before a Run Make You Feel Sick?

The short answer is, yes, it will. With too much water in your stomach, you’re probably going to deal with stomach pains while you run, you’ll feel heavier, and may have water coming back up your throat when it gets a bit hot outside and your body starts adjusting to the run.

This is why it’s so important to drink manageable amounts of water before a run.

Does Time of Day Matter?

Like drinking different amounts of water, the time of day you run will also affect how you feel during your run and how your body responds.

Your body is going to work harder when it’s hot outside, and the higher temperatures will make any pain feel more painful than if it weren’t so hot out.

Ideally, you’ll start drinking water hours before your run, and if you’re running when the sun’s out and temps are higher, you should drink a bit more to prepare your body for the sweat loss it’s going to experience on your run.

Should you drink water before a morning run? Yes, a couple of glasses of water before a morning run will give you a boost and help prevent cramping.

Again, how long before the run is crucial. Don’t drink the cups of water right before your run as you’re tying your laces. Instead, drink the water right when you wake up so your body has time to absorb it before you head out.

If you’re running in the afternoon, it’s probably going to be warmer out, so you will want to prepare ahead of the run by drinking more water.

Temperatures in the evening will be cooler once again, so you may want to cut back on your water intake.

Female runners ready to start running and racing each other

Does the Length of a Run Matter?

When considering water intake, does the planned length of the run or weather have any impact?

Obviously, the longer you run, the more water you’re going to lose by sweating it out. If you run a very long time, you risk dehydration and cramping that will quickly derail your routine.

Knowing that your run is going to be longer should let you know that you should prepare better by drinking more water well ahead of time.

With shorter runs, your water consumption isn’t as critical because you’ll be in recovery mode before the lack of water starts to take effect.

Drinking Water After the Run

Drinking enough water every day and right before a run is important, but recovery is perhaps more vital to successful regular exercise.

If you can, weigh yourself before your run and after to see how much water you are losing while you’re out exercising.

That’s how much water weight you’re going to need to replace to keep your body healthy and prevent cramping on the next run. You can convert the weight into how much actual water you’ll need to drink before your next run and go from there.

You can also drink sports drinks and other drinks with salt in them to help your body retain water more effectively.

Female runner drinks water, training on stadium

Listening to Your Body

It’s hard to pin an exact amount of water you should drink before, during, or after a run. After all, runners are all types of body sizes, weights, and other factors that water affects. The most important thing you can do is listen to your body.

This may come off as being a bit cliche, but it’s true! One thing you can try to laser in on the right water amounts is to drink different amounts before your run and see how you feel.

When you drink a certain amount of water and feel great, it’s a terrific starting point and you can start building from there as you become a more experienced runner.


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