Dehydration: How Much Does It Hurt While Running

Do I need to drink while running – that is a question that still remains highly controversial among scientists and athletes. There are many studies that support the different theories, but the whole picture is still incomplete. It often happens that a new study refutes the results obtained years earlier. In addition, the interpretation of the results depends on the attitudes and beliefs of people who analyze them.

We will try to understand the issue from the practical point of view: whether there is a need to drink while running, and whether there is a negative effect on failure from drinking water during training. Modern research and experience of the people who dedicate a lot of time for running on a professional or amateur basis will help us.

American College of Sports Medicine`s Investigation

American College of Sports Medicine Annual Congress took place in the summer of 2016. The results of an interesting study conducted by Elon University were represented at the event. A group of 23 amateur runners twice overcame the same distance in the same temperature conditions. During these races the first test subjects drank water through distance, and during the second race the testees just wetted their mouths by water, but did not drink it. The result of the study were two different reports which have focused on the analysis of the same data, but with a different approach.

The first report was devoted to purely physiological data, which were obtained from the testees after the passage of the two distances. First of all the researchers noted that the results of both races virtually differs from each other – the difference in time of passage was not more than one minute. Thus was made an obvious conclusions: the group, which drank water had sweated more and the group, which only used mouthwash with water had showen a more rapid heart rate and level of fatigue. So the essential difference between the use of water and rinsing the mouth while jogging on a physiological level was not revealed.

The second report focused on the psychological aspect of passage the routes with the different attitudes to water. From this point of view, the survey participants in the experiment did not reveal significant differences to the surprise of scientists. Runners reported a slightly greater level of fatigue by using mouthwash strategy instead of water use, but it does not significantly influence on their experiences of overcoming distance.

The result of this study can not be considered universal, as this group of testees under certain circumstances can not be a model for the entire human kind. However, the important conclusion that we need to do for yourself: the critical differences between the various fluid replenishment processes in the body is not proved. You can drink either before the exercise, or during, or after it has been over. Unequivocal remains a need to restore fluid balance, and the particular moment of water drinking has a little effect on the results of your workout.

Research by University of Connecticut

The research by University of Connecticut builds on two groups of subjects who ran the same distance in the same conditions with a different approach to the use of water: one group drank as much water as they see fit, and the second received a limited amount of water.

The result of the study showed only the obvious conclusions: a group of runners who used water without limits, sweated about two times more than the group with a limited supply of water. Naturally, these results may have serious implications for the health and maintenance of the form of each of the athletes. But the total sample does not show a significant difference in the results achieved and the efforts spent on them.

Preventive measures

Some experts hold the following conservative opinion: thirst is a critical signal of dehydration of the body, and drinking water needs to be done before it will score the alarm. This approach implies a moderate and constant use of water to maintain a stable water balance of each person, not just a runner.

The problem is that in reality, we can not always afford drinking water continuously, as required by the above rule. In this case, naturally will increase the amount of water consumed during the increased load, which provides a run.

Dehydration aspect

The basic idea, which can unite all the experts, is as follows: one should be reasonable to distinguish between true dehydration, which is dangerous for the human body, and the natural fluid loss during exercise. Thus, you do not have to fill every drop of sweat immediately. And we should not worry about the consequences of the absence of such negative immediate fluid replacement. Drinking water during the run should add not only energy, but also a comfort. Keep this in mind.

If we consider the examples of famous athletes and analyze the amount of fluid they lose when running long distances, we can get a great surprise. For example, the loss of 10 percent of body weight is not a critical parameter for professional sporstmen. On the contrary – this weight loss is an instrument of their victory.

However, it is worth remembering that the professional sporstmen have goals different from the people involved in a run for pleasure and health maintenance. So pleasant side for most runners override sporting achievements.


Of course, the drinking of water on the run is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Therefore, for the athletes and the fans of running there were invented special equipment – hydration running belt with water bottles and hydration backpack with water bladder. These simple equipment items bring your jogging to a new level of comfort!


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