• Brandon Birdsong

Best Hydration Strategies for Long Runs



Hydrating on long runs can be a tricky task, especially if you’re running by yourself. Planning ahead can be a huge help in making sure you stay hydrated during your long runs. Below are a few ideas I have used make sure I have easy access to water during my long runs.


PLANTING WATER BOTTLES ALONG THE ROUTE

Consider getting some disposable water bottles and either go out the night before or wake up early to plant them along your route. Strategically plant the bottles and use it as a designated spot to drink and refuel. I’ll often throw it in the freezer the night before and stash it frozen, so when I reach it, it’s melted and still cold.


PERFORMING LOOPS

If you have a 16-mile-long run, consider a 4-mile loop and have a designated aid station. Not only does this allow you to stay hydrated, but it enables you to practice different fueling techniques for race day! Although loops can be monotonous, it is a great opportunity to practice hydration, as well as patience. For example, starting off slower and increasing the tempo each loop. It allows you to control your effort and each lap will be directly comparable because it is the same loop.

OUT AND BACK

If you’re running out and back, plant some water or electrolyte mix at the turnaround point. It is a great opportunity to refuel, use the bathroom, and as mental preparation to return a bit quicker than you went out.

USE A HYDRATION VEST OR BELT

That’s right, I said it! Get a belt or vest and use it as a training tool. You won’t have to use it during a race because of designated aid stations (or maybe it will be great practice for your next ultra), but it is a valuable resource to have during your long run! My favorite running vest is the Patagonia Slope Endurance Vest.


Remember to hydrate and fuel well going into your run. Starting on empty will only exacerbate issues and bonking/dehydration will be inevitable. I recommended taking in 25 grams to 30 grams of carbs per hour of running and hydrate to thirst.

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