I’ve never been a big believer in the need for complete hydration while running. When doing my first marathon, I remember reading the advice that you should take fluids in the beginning even if you are not feeling thirsty. I listened to the advice, for my first few marathons.
But then I started skipping some of the early water stations. It got in the way of my joggling. It also occurred to me that when I did my long training runs, I would routinely go long distances without any water. It didn’t seem to physically hurt me to go 5 or 10 miles without any water. It was this experience that helped eventually lead me to the idea that hydration isn’t critical for running.
So I read with interest this article that looked at the question of hydration, sports drinks, and how much is needed.
A team of researchers reviewed over 500 studies which investigated the effect of sports drinks on performance and muscle recovery. Some of their findings…
1. Whey protein doesn’t have any additional benefit for the average person who works out a few times a week.
2. Sports drinks are unnecessary added calories that offset some of the benefits of your workout.
3. Caffinated products can improve a workout but coffee or tea works as well as Red Bull
I used to drink a Gatorade after every run, but no more. The added calories were just not worth it and I like the taset of diet soda better anyway.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to spend money on expensive sports drinks or protein shakes and you should drink (water) when you are thirsty.