Hydration Tips for Runners: 10 Tips To Keep You Hydrated

Runners understand the road. It's a path of persistence, resilience, and constant movement toward their goals. 

But as you set your pace and put one foot in front of the other, hydration plays a silent yet critical role in your performance. At 2XU, we recognize that hydration isn't just about drinking water; it's a fine balance that can make or break your run.

The challenges of staying hydrated during runs are numerous. From understanding your body's unique needs to managing hydration during long-distance runs, there's much more than meets the eye. 

This guide offers 10 practical, tested, and effective hydration tips for runners. Whether you're just starting or prepping for your next marathon, these strategies are tailored to ensure that your hydration aligns with your performance goals.

But First, Why Is Hydration So Important for Runners Anyway?

Hydration is about more than quenching thirst — water plays an essential role in our body, facilitating the transport of nutrients and oxygen, controlling body temperature, and aiding in muscle function. Runners, in particular, need to pay close attention to hydration, as even slight dehydration can impact performance.

Impact on Performance

Staying hydrated helps maintain your endurance and strength throughout the run. Dehydration, even by a small percentage, can lead to fatigue, decreased coordination, and even overheating, all of which can affect your running performance.

Recovery Process

Proper hydration isn’t only vital during your run; it plays a significant role in recovery as well. Adequate fluid intake post-run helps flush out toxins, speed up recovery, and prepare your body for your next training session.

Understanding Your Unique Hydration Needs

Each runner's body is unique, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. It's essential to understand your specific hydration needs to maximize your performance. 

Here's a closer look at the considerations that go into formulating a tailored hydration strategy:

Monitor Sweat Rate

Your sweat rate is a crucial factor in determining how much fluid you'll need to replace during a run. Measure how much you sweat during a run by weighing yourself before and after. 

Understanding your sweat rate can help you tailor your hydration strategy. It might take some time and experimentation, but getting this aspect right can lead to more comfortable and efficient runs.

Consider Climate

Climate plays a significant role in your hydration needs. Running in humid conditions can lead to more sweating, increasing your fluid requirement. 

Conversely, in cold weather, your body might not feel as thirsty, leading to reduced fluid intake, even though the body is still losing fluids through respiration and metabolic processes. Therefore, always be mindful of the weather and adapt your hydration plan accordingly.

Don't forget about altitude as well — higher altitudes can lead to increased fluid loss and increased hydration requirements.

Listen to Your Body

While there are several scientific methods to track hydration, your body itself is an excellent indicator. Thirst is your body's natural signal telling you it needs water. 

Learn to recognize your body's signs of dehydration, such as increased thirst, dry mouth, tiredness, decreased urine output, or headache. However, it's important to note that the sensation of thirst often lags behind the body's actual need for water, so don't wait until you're thirsty to start hydrating.

Balance Electrolytes

While water forms the majority of your hydration needs, it's not the whole story. When you experience sweat loss, you also lose essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These electrolytes play vital roles in the body, including nerve and muscle function, maintaining blood pH, and regulating body fluid balance. 

To maintain optimal performance and prevent conditions like hyponatremia (low blood sodium), consider sports drinks or supplements that contain these electrolytes. You can also replenish electrolytes through carbohydrate-rich foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, dairy products, and nuts.

Hydration for Runners: What the Experts Say

While the amount of water each individual needs varies, there are general guidelines that experts recommend for athletes. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests:

  • Before Exercise: Drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid about four hours before your run and eight to 10 ounces about 20 to 30 minutes prior to starting.
  • During Exercise: Aim for seven to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during your run, adjusting as needed based on your sweat rate, the climate, and your body's signals.
  • After Exercise: For every pound of body weight lost during the run, aim to consume 20 to 24 ounces of fluid. This replenishment is critical in aiding recovery and preparing your body for future training.

Effective hydration is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it requires education, planning, and sometimes even professional guidance. Don't hesitate to consult with a sports nutritionist or a coach who has experience with endurance athletes. They can help analyze your situation and develop a tailored hydration plan aligning with your training and race goals.

10 Tips To Keep Runners Hydrated

Now that we’ve covered the essential principles of hydration and the underlying science, let's delve into twelve actionable tips you can incorporate into your running routine. These tips consider everything from the basics to the advanced strategies, all tailored to boost your performance and recovery. 

1. Pre-Run Hydration Planning

As a runner, you should focus on the trail and the planning that precedes the run. Always begin your run well-hydrated. Consuming 16 to 20 ounces of fluid four hours before your run ensures your body has the time to absorb the fluids. Pair this with our Light Speed Compression Shorts, designed to provide targeted muscle support, and you're setting yourself up for a successful running experience. 

The pre-run preparation brings together the hydration and muscle support needed to maintain endurance.

2. Hydrate According to Training Phases

Recognize that your hydration needs may vary based on the different training phases, distances, and intensity of your runs. For example, long, intense training sessions will require more meticulous hydration planning than shorter, more relaxed runs. 

Tailor your hydration strategies to meet the specific demands of each training phase, and don't be afraid to adjust as needed. Your body's hydration requirements are dynamic, and recognizing this fluidity can lead to a more customized and effective approach.

3. Avoid Overhydration

While it's crucial to stay hydrated, overhydration can be equally detrimental, leading to a condition known as hyponatremia, where sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low. 

Monitor your body and the color of your urine (aim for a light yellow color to ensure you're consuming the right amount of fluids). Knowing the fine balance between hydration and overhydration is key to maintaining optimal body function during your runs.

4. Incorporate Natural Electrolyte Sources

Relying solely on plain water during long-distance runs may not replenish all the lost electrolytes. Incorporating natural electrolyte sources like oranges, coconut water, or electrolyte-infused sports drinks during your run can fill that gap. And don't overlook your apparel. 

Wearing moisture-wicking gear like our Core Compression Tights can help maintain a healthy body temperature, assisting in maintaining electrolyte balance. This combination of targeted electrolyte replenishment and advanced running gear aligns with understanding complete hydration management.

5. Experiment With Different Hydration Products

A plethora of hydration products are available on the market, ranging from different sports drinks to energy gels, tablets, and chews. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you. Trial and error with various products during training — not on race day — can lead you to find the perfect match for your palate and stomach.

Combine them with your well-planned hydration strategy to ensure your body receives the necessary fluids, critical nutrients, and electrolytes during your training runs.

6. Practice Your Race DayHydration

If you're preparing for a race, it's wise to know what hydration will be available on the course and practice using those products. If the race offers a specific brand of sports drink, try training with it to ensure it suits your stomach.

Also, practice your timing for taking fluids on the run. Simulating race day hydration can help avoid any unwanted surprises and keep you focused on your performance rather than worrying about unfamiliar products or timing.

7. Invest in Proper Hydration Equipment

Your choice of hydration equipment can make a significant difference in how comfortable and efficient your hydration process is during your runs. Depending on the distance and where you're running, options like handheld water bottles, hydration belts, or vests might be appropriate. 

Investing in high-quality, easy-to-use hydration equipment that matches your needs can make staying hydrated more convenient and enjoyable. Look for gear that fits comfortably and provides easy access to enough fluids, allowing you to focus on your run without distractions from cumbersome or awkward equipment.

8. Adopt a Personalized Hydration Timeline

Creating a personalized hydration timeline can be a game-changer for long-distance runners. Start by mapping out your typical running route and identifying key points where you'll need to hydrate. 

This could align with specific mileage markers, terrain changes, or known tough segments of your run. Plan your fluid intake around these markers, allowing for both water and electrolyte replenishment. 

This timeline approach ensures that you're consuming the right amount and hydrating at the most effective intervals, helping you maintain consistent energy levels and performance throughout your run.

9. Embrace Rehydration Techniques

Post-run recovery isn't only about replenishing lost fluids; it's also an opportunity to employ specific hydration techniques to optimize recovery. 

Consider using beverages that contain added recovery ingredients like amino acids or incorporating herbal teas that promote relaxation and inflammation reduction. Some runners find benefit in utilizing contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold baths) to stimulate blood flow and aid in muscle recovery. 

Recovery hydration is an often-overlooked aspect that can greatly enhance your body's ability to heal and prepare for your next run, and exploring these techniques can bring a new dimension to your hydration strategy.

10. Understand Seasonal Hydration Dynamics

As the seasons change, so do the hydration needs of a runner. In the sweltering heat of summer or the deceptive chill of winter, your body's demand for fluids and electrolytes shifts. It's vital to be attuned to these changes and adjust your hydration strategy accordingly. 

A beneficial way to align with the seasonal dynamics is to pair your hydration plan with the right gear. For instance, as you plan your hydration for a winter run, wearing our Refresh Recovery Compression Tights can be a subtle yet effective part of your strategy. 

These tights, known for their comfort and support, also aid in regulating body temperature, allowing you to focus on maintaining your hydration balance without the distraction of seasonal discomforts. 

The synergy between understanding seasonal hydration needs and utilizing appropriate gear like these compression tights can lead to healthy performance and recovery, enabling you to run your best — no matter the season.


Hydration is more than just a secondary consideration for runners; it's a foundational element of performance, recovery, and overall health. From understanding your unique needs to employing technology to keep you on track, these practical and effective hydration tips can be the key to unlocking your potential on the road.

At 2XU, we understand that the road is not just a physical path but a journey of self-discovery, improvement, and achievement. Your hydration is an essential part of this journey. We are committed to supporting runners in every step of their path, providing the gear and the knowledge and guidance needed to excel.

Whether you are a casual jogger or an elite marathoner, remember hydration is not a mere detail but a vital part of your running toolkit. Equip yourself with these strategies, listen to your body, and run with confidence. The road awaits!


The importance of hydration | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement | ACSM

Fluid and Electrolyte Balance | MedlinePlus

Why and How to Calculate Your Athlete’s Sweat Rate | True Sport