Every runner needs to be hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, physical pain, and not least critically, to poor performance in the run. These tips will help runners determine how different types of drinks will affect them and their running.

The first rule of sports hydration: YES! That is the basic rule.

The root of the word hydration, the same root that makes a hydro-plane and water-craft, is hýd?r, which is the Greek word for water. The human body needs to have water to do its work, and when a human body is at work running the need for water is absolute.

Nobody should blame a runner for being confused about what beverage is the best for staying hydrated on runs. Unless that runner also happens to be on the marketing team for a sports drink company.

Besides plain and simple water, there are dozens if not hundreds of different types and brands of sports drinks.  By “enhancing” their drinks with carbohydrates, flavors, colors, electrolytes, caffeine, and pro-athlete endorsements, many companies can help the paying public forget that the essence of their drinks is good-old tap-water.

Still, just because a sports drink is over-priced and over-marketed doesn’t mean that it can’t make a difference to a runner. Here is the breakdown.

Electrolytes: Liquid electrolytes are solutions which, unlike pure water, are able to conduct electricity. The impurities that make sweat salty and grimy actually help the human body retain water more efficiently.

Carbs: Carbs are basically fuel for your body. Drinks with simple sugars or other carbohydrates are best for runs that are over 60 minutes, although they won’t impede performance on shorter runs in the least.

Caffeine: Caffeine gives the body a false reading on the fuel gauge. Your brain might think your body has energy for anything after drinking a caffeinated drink, but this is only because it takes a lot less energy to fire synapses in the brain to think fast than it does to your legs actually run.

The root of the word hydration, the same root that makes a hydro-plane and water-craft, is hýd?r, which is the Greek word for water. The human body needs to have water to do its work, and when a human body is at work running the need for water is absolute.