Seven Common Hydration Mistakes

With temperatures rising, now is the time to focus on hydration. Runners should prioritize hydration for optimal performance, injury prevention, and well-being. 

It seems pretty simple: You run, get thirsty, and drink water or a sports drink. What else is there to know? 

Here are seven common mistakes runners make when it comes to hydration. 

  1. Waiting until you run to hydrate. Start your run well-hydrated. Aim for 16-20 ounces of water for 1-2 hours before you start your run. This helps ensure that you start your run with proper hydration levels.
  2. Only drink water for runs longer than one hour. Water is usually sufficient for runs lasting less than an hour. However, you need to replace electrolytes for longer runs or intense workouts. Consider sports drinks like Powerade ION4. 
  3. Stopping hydration when the run is over. Repeat after me. After a run, the job is not done.  Drink at least 16 ounces of water or a recovery beverage within 30 minutes of your run. This helps kickstart the recovery process and supports optimal rehydration.
  4. Overhydration: Overhydration can be just as harmful as dehydration. Drinking excessive amounts of water without replenishing electrolytes can lead to hyponatremia, where the sodium levels in your blood become dangerously diluted. To avoid this, ensure a balanced intake of both water and electrolytes.
  5. Drinking excessive caffeine or alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics, meaning they can increase urine production and contribute to dehydration. While a moderate caffeine intake before a run may have performance benefits, excessive consumption or relying on it as your primary source of hydration is not recommended. Alcohol, on the other hand, should be avoided entirely before or after a run due to its dehydrating effects. 
  6. Drinking sugary beverages: While sports drinks can be beneficial for longer runs, it’s important to be mindful of the sugar content. Excessive consumption of sugary beverages can lead to gastrointestinal distress, delayed stomach emptying, and an energy crash. Opt for electrolyte-enhanced drinks with a moderate sugar content, or consider natural alternatives like coconut water.
  7. Consuming artificial sweeteners such as Erythritol: Artificial sweeteners can be found everywhere, including sports drinks and energy bars. A recent study by Cleveland Clinic found that artificial sweeteners can be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Artificial sweeteners can also cause gastrointestinal issues. Also, they can cause water loss, leading to dehydration. 


Remember to hydrate before, during, and after your runs. This will optimize performance, prevent injury, and enhance your well-being. 

Tony Loyd

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Favorite Grandma’s Marathon Memory:In 2022, I was scheduled to run Grandma’s Marathon. Unfortunately, I suffered a stress fracture in my left ankle in May, so I was out of the race. I decided to come to Duluth anyway. How could I miss Grandma Marathon weekend? There’s nothing else like it in the world.

I could take full advantage of the weekend because I was not stressed about resting for race day. I took my time and explored the expo. I had a chance to meet some of my running heroes. FOX25 interviewed me. I had a blast.

On race day, I saw the race as a spectator. I had a chance to see what others see, a never-ending parade of inspiring individuals, from elite athletes to the back of the pack. The looks on their faces told a story of months of sacrifice that led to this one day, Grandma’s Marathon. It was inspiring!

Quote that guides, inspires, or embodies your training, racing, or life: My race, my pace. It doesn’t matter what pace everyone else is running. This is my race, and I run it at my pace. This applies to Grandma’s Marathon and to life.

Song that must be on your running playlist: If I said murder mystery podcasts, would you be horrified?

Reason you absolutely won’t run outside: If there is a health and safety issue, I head inside. Lightning, poor air quality, temperatures that instantly freeze your skin – things like that.

2024 running goal: If my training goes well, I hope to run a 3:26 marathon. That will automatically qualify me for the AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships.

Three words to describe your training, racing, or life: Run and have fun. OK, that’s four words. What can I say? I’m a rebel.