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Should you really drink before feeling thirsty?

One of the things I hear most often as a pseudo runner is that your thirst signal lags behind your state of hydration. You should drink before, during and after a run. Before feeling thirsty, stay hydrated and try to replace any weight you may have lost by drinking enough. My question is, is this yet another flaw in the human body's design?

Endurance events and the incredible human body.

Did you know that humans have evolved to run long distances in extremely hot, dry climates in the middle of the day with very little water? Did you know that sweating during exercise results in water loss, stimulating thirst in return? Did you know that when liquids are available, humans can drink enough to quench their thirst? Did you know that, depending on thirst, runners should drink ad libitum anywhere from 400 to 800 ml per hour? Did you know that the fastest and heaviest runners competing in hot conditions should be those who follow upper limit recommendations?

Dehydration, performance, cramps and sodium

Did you know that greater weight loss and dehydration are not associated with a decrease in performance? Did you know that the sodium deficiency and dehydration theory could not explain exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC)? Did you know that no evidence has revealed that amateur or professional athletes who participate in long-distance events will inevitably develop a sodium deficiency?

Behind the science of hydration—and its implications

Did you know that hyponatremia is the greatest health risk for endurance athletes? Did you know that more than 1,600 hyponatremia cases have been reported in the scientific literature or were documented during the Hawaii triathlon? Did you know that factors encouraging at-risk individuals to drink excessive amounts of water during exercise caused the North American hyponatremia epidemic in the 1990s?

What now?

Dr. Tim Noakes is renowned in the scientific community for his publications on hydration in endurance sports. He is currently THE expert on hyponatremia. Several runners also know him as author of the running bible Lore of Running. Here are some recommendations from his latest book Waterlogged, The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports.