You know, it never fails. For over the past decade, we were always told to drink 8- 8oz. of water each and every day, right? After all, our bodies are made up of over 55% water right? There’s a little difference between men and women, but not enough to matter.

Muscle makes up about 75% of the water weight of the body, while fat makes up only 10%.  So that just goes to reaffirm the fact that replenishing water after you expend energy allows your muscles to expand back to their original size after tightening up from the physical strain you have put them through, say after an intense workout or maybe a grueling marathon.

Now, getting back to how much you need depends really on you!  When you exercise, run, for example, since that’s what this blog post is all about, you sweat. It’s as simple as that. Most people, in average to good physical condition, sweat at a rate of 24 to 32 ounces an hour while exercising, and should aim to replace at least 75 percent of that on the run. That means drinking 18 to 24 ounces an hour while running.  And even though the temperature is a lot cooler/colder this time of year, December-duh!, you still need to hydrate and get that water into your body so that your muscles can retain their elasticity as you use them to propel you along your run!

And in order to consume your drink of choice while you’re running or walking I like the Camelbak Delaney 21oz Podium . This easy to access waist-mounted system, combines comfort and hands-free convenience for runners and walkers. Along with it being BPA free, the design of the bottle waist wrap keeps the weight low on your body for more stability, and the Podium Chill bottle keeps your drink cold from start to finish. This is a great, convenient way to make sure your hydrating as you run through your paces. And since you’re usually running on the road, it’s reflective so you can be seen by any vehicles you’re sharing the road with.

The downside to not drinking enough can cause you to have some uncomfortable issues of becoming dehydrated.  Some of the symptoms of dehydration (cramps, dizziness, fatigue, can crop up when you least expect them to. Again, drinking enough water based on your own body makeup will prevent these symptoms from occurring.

Turns out, having the right balance of water and sodium (yup, you lose this important electrolyte in your sweat, too!) helps you ward off hitting “the wall” mid-run and could help you be more efficient. Plus, if you’re dehydrated, you’ll likely finish your run starving, and feel fatigued for the rest of the day.

Another alternative to just drinking water is to drink something that starts to replenish what your body is using up. Are Nuun Active Mixed 4 Pack Electrolyte Tablets, they are packed with electrolytes, vitamins and minerals to help you stay properly hydrated throughout the day!  Just drop 1 tablet into 16 fluid ounce of water, wait 2 minutes, drink and presto—optimum hydration, it’s that easy!

When it comes to how much fluid you should be drinking there’s really no one-size-fits-all answer for everyone. But, what is surprising is how different your needs are based on your body size, smaller people need less fluid – FALSE! Your sweat rate, and we stress the word YOUR for a reason. Some of us are just heavier sweaters!  And don’t forget the climate, obviously you need more fluid on steamier runs. But remember, based on your own body makeup, you are still going to sweat, even in the winter! But here are some general some basic hydration rules for runs lasting over 60 minutes:

Get a Head Start

If you go into a run dehydrated, you can’t play catch up while you’re out there. Again, there’s no “right” amount of water to drink before you run, but be sure your pee is pale yellow before heading out the door, that’s the normal color for someone that has the right balance of fluid, (water) in their system.

Start with a Standard: How much you need to drink on the run depends on how much you sweat. “Most people sweat at a rate of 24 to 32 ounces an hour while exercising—and should aim to replace at least 75 percent of that on the run. That means drinking 18 to 24 ounces an hour while running. But, like we said, that sweat rate differs for everyone, so…

Take a Sweat Test: If it would be possible, we should put a scale at the entrance to any race over 10k and let people weigh themselves before and after their runs. Weighing yourself pre- and post-run helps you determine how much sweat you lose on the run. That, in turn, helps you discover whether you’re staying adequately hydrated—or if you should sip more or less next time you run.  We probably won’t get scales in major events anytime soon, but you can (and should!) weigh yourself before and after you next run and note how much weight you lost. If it’s more than two percent of your bodyweight, that’s a sign you need to drink more the next time you run.

Sodium Matters, Too: If you have salt caked on your face and arms after you run, that’s a sign you lost a lot of the stuff (again, everyone has different rates!), so you need to take in more sodium next time you run. People are always surprised at how much better they feel when they add salt to their water or swap water for a sports drink. Most people lose 800 to 1500 mg of sodium per hour in their sweat, so sprinkle a little actual salt in your H20 (you can also add a bit of honey for flavor and carbs), or make sure there’s some in your fueling option of choice. (Eight ounces of Gatorade has 110 mg; Gatorade Endurance has 200 mg.)  Another easy access sports product that you can eat on your run to get a little boost when your need it is the Jelly Belly Energy Sport Beans These chewy morsels are packed with nutrients, carbohydrates, electrolytes and vitamins B and C, along with salt to help you maintain your pace and stamina while you’re out there on the run.

Bottom line is that water is essential to all life, no matter the time of year, winter, spring, summer and fall! We have had that drilled into us from as long as everyone probably can remember. But surprisingly it’s true. A body can go weeks without eating any food or nutrients. But take away water, and the rule of thumb is after 3 days, its bye bye.  So before embarking on any long trial runs. Pace yourself and do a few test runs, especially if you’re looking to do a holiday run this time of year. After all they are cropping up all over right now. Whether it’s a, 5K, 10K or a half-marathon. Before each, weigh yourself before and after, and get a true measure of how much water weight you losing.  This should be done each time you get yourself ready for an event. In every climate change that happens. This way, you’re going to know in advance just how much and how often you need to replenish your body’s fluid intake, so you can finish strong and finish in good shape.

Thirsty……. Take a sip of water!