Interested in becoming a runner? Already a runner but need to re-up on your gear? Check out our handy guide to running in South Florida, complete with the latest gear and running apps.
Staying hydrated does not mean load up on water before a run, rather maintain a steady intake of water before and after your exercise. But how much is enough? For a temperate climate, the Institute of Medicine recommends adequate intake should be roughly 3 liters of beverages a day for men, 2.2 liters for women. A good way to determine if you’re properly hydrated is if you drink enough fluid to the point that you rarely feel thirsty, and your urine is colorless or light yellow, you are on the right track. Remember to drink water with and in between meals, and before, during, and after exercising. When it comes to exercise and running, you need to compensate for the extra fluid loss through sweat. For short workouts, the Mayo Clinic recommends an extra one and half to two and half cups of water (400 to 600 milliliters). If logging a longer run (around the 45 minute range and more), or the weather is hot and humid (the standard for these parts), additional fluids are recommended, particularly ones that contain sodium, like sports drinks.
If you are new to running, it can be a bit of shock when you get out there and realize you can’t keep up like you did as a kid. Take it day by day—it takes about six weeks for your body to acclimate to a running routine. And don’t expect to tackle a multi-mile route right off the bat. Start slowly, with intervals of walking peppered in the run to help from pulling a muscle, cramping, and shin splints to name a few. Couch-to-5K is a great app to help you start a solid running routine, starting off slow and progressively building to a three-mile clip in just eight weeks.
It may seem redundant to say this, but running burns calories. So you need to have some fuel in the tank to make the most out of a run. To make the most out of that workout, eat about 200 to 400 calories of mostly complex carbs about an hour to an hour and a half before hitting the pavement.
Don’t just hop off the couch and start running, warm-up those muscles with five-minute walk. Called dynamic stretching—stretching with movements similar to running—this will help warm the muscles up and prevent tightness. If you still want to do traditional stretching—which is great—wait until after the run.