It’s hard for me to think about bundling up in layers for a run when its still in the 80’s down here in South Florida. But as I pack for my upcoming New England trip, I am reminded of the weather reports in the rest of the country. Snow is trickling down on branches, and runners are seeing their breath before the words “hello” come out of their mouths as they pass a local running buddy. It’s also hard for many to imagine that sweat loss is going to occur when you are about to endure a run in 35-degree weather. But guess what? You still need to hydrate!
Lets look why:
- When you are running in cold weather,your body still heats up and loses fluids.You may not have the drips running down your face and body, but your body is still losing fluids and requires a hydration plan appropriate for the season and you.
- The difference between breathing in cold versus warm air, is thatcold air has a drying effect. This effect actually increases the risk of dehydration. Since there is less moisture in cold air compared to warm, it will find it from other places such as your lungs. Basically, when you inhale, the dry air will rob your lungs of moisture. In higher altitudes, you will see the same effect, which is why you also hear recommendations to drink more when you go skiing in the mountains!
- Other than year-round warm climates,most water fountains are turned off in the winter.For example, if you live in New York City, all the water fountains in Central Park (the running mecca) from October to April are turn off! This leaves the runner with 3 options:
- Carry your own fluids via a fuel belt.
- Hide a bottle or two in the bushes along the course you are running.
- Design your run to be out and backs from your house or car where you have fluids waiting for you. This can be boring though…
- Colder temperatures may trick the bodyor mind into thinking it does not need fluids. In hotter months such as summer, it’s easy to replace fluids as you sweat. Not only do you visually see the sweat on your body, you fell it. In colder weather you do not have this physical signal, but your fluid needs are still there! Hydrate even when you do not feel thirsty.
- Blood viscosity increases(becomes thicker) in cold temps. The thicker the blood, the harder to pump! A vital aspect of running to keep enough fluids in the system to keep blood moving.
Whether you are a short distance runner or training for an ultra, getting enough fluids in on your training runs and races is a key to success. It’s actually possible to become dehydrated on a 3 mile run!
Now go earn that free speed by giving the body what it needs!
*Photo by www.glassphotography.com