It’s easy to get dehydrated during winter workouts; prevent it!

CARA keeps runners hydrated all year long at the path by Cannon Drive.

Twisting and cramping. That’s what my stomach felt like during my run last night.

When I got home, I discovered I had a headache, too.

When I woke up this morning, my eyes were puffy like I had been crying all night long.

When I went to the bathroom, my pee was almost orange.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it took me a while to figure out what you probably did in the first sentence up there: I was dehydrated.

I was really dehydrated. And I didn’t even realize it.

During winter months, it’s easy for runners and other athletes to forget to drink that life-giving fluid we call water. When the temperatures dip outside, the last thing I want is a cold drink. I want a hot drink. Coffee usually fits the bill.

Alas, caffeine can dehydrate you. This in addition to already being low on water consumption anyway? Recipe for disaster.

So how can athletes stay hydrated in the winter? Here are some tips:

1. Slowly drink 2 cups (or 16 ounces) of water about an hour before you exercise. If you feel thirsty, you’re probably already on your way to being dehydrated, so try not to let yourself get to that point.

2. When working out in Chicago, run along the gravel path between Cannon Drive and the lakefront, south of Diversey and north of Fullerton. There’s a big drinking fountain courtesy of the Chicago Area Runners Association. Watch your step; it’s left on to keep the fountain from freezing, but the bin and ground get plenty of ice build-up.

3. Keep your Brita or other water filter pitcher on the counter. If the water isn’t too cold, you may be more likely to drink it.

4. Keep refilling a glass, cup, mug or bottle of water through out the day.

5. Eat your fruits and veggies. They’re made up of water and can help hydrate you as well.

Drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables to stay hydrated.

6. Even if you’re out running in the cold, you’re still going to sweat. You should be drinking about 1 cup (8 ounces) of water for every 15 to 20 minutes that you exercise. And sip that Gatorade, too.

Or, if you’re like me, be completely oblivious, see your pee and then run to Whole Foods to buy “electrolyte enhanced water” to hurry up and restore your body’s fluid supply. It seems to have worked. My pee isn’t orange anymore, in case you’re curious.

[P.S. Thanks for continuing to read and check on on my blog. The BF asked me to marry him on Oct. 4, and then he had shoulder surgery the next day. It’s been a tough several weeks in terms of helping him, working, cooking, maintaining two homes and working out. I feel like I’m back on track. Oh! And I will now refer to him as H2B, short for “husband-to-be,” as suggested by my friend Dan Malinksi.]


Filed under Nutrition & hydration, running, Tips & Tricks

3 responses to “It’s easy to get dehydrated during winter workouts; prevent it!

  1. Such a great reminder. I ran the other night and got a horrible stitch in my side, and I KNEW it was because I haven’t been drinking is as much water. Think I’ll start going with the mugs of hot water at work, so I’m more inclined to drink it, since I’ll want to wrap my cold hands around the mug!

  2. Cheryl Miller

    If you are dehydrated, just imagine how your pets must feel! They can become dehydrated very easily in the winter months too. Allow free water for your companions, not scheduled watering.

    • Good tip, Mom! I took Phoebe for a run with me the other day and she’s been a good little water drinker. Maybe a good rule of thumb is: I drink when the dog drinks :)