Don't neglect hydration just because It's cold!
While it is obvious that we need to hydrate well in the heat and humidity, we may not think about it as much in the cold. Often the cues for thirst aren't the same and many assume that we're not losing as much through sweat during winter runs. Here are three reasons to pay extra attention to your hydration during cold winter runs.
The air is dry
The air carries less moisture in the winter than in the summer. You're probably aware of this due to your dryer skin and sinuses. Because the air is dryer, we're losing a lot more moisture through respiration while we run. Even if you're not sweating a lot (read below), you still lose fluid.
Sweat evaporates quicker
We definitely still sweat a lot in the winter. You'll notice that the innermost layers of your clothing are probably pretty soaked by the end of a run if you're not wearing the right clothes. However, most of us now wear moisture-wicking clothing and may not notice how much we're sweating. A good way to know how much you're sweating is to weigh yourself before and after your run. You need about 20oz of water or sports drink for every pound lost while running.
we're less thirsty
We don't get the same thirst cues when we're cold because of the way our blood flows away from our extremities and into our core. This is a good physiological response to survive the cold but we need to pay extra attention to our fluid intake and not wait until we feel thirsty.
It is generally recommended to drink about 3-6oz of fluid for every 15 minutes of running. This can vary for people so weighing yourself before and after a run can help you determine how much fluid you lost through sweat. As we said above, you need about 20oz for every 1lb lost through sweat while running.
As with summer running, electrolytes are still being depleted while running. Don't forget to replace electrolytes with a sports drink or electrolyte tablets during or after your run.
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