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Running Dehydration Symptoms To Look Out For


Staying properly hydrated throughout the day is something everyone should be mindful of, especially for those engaged in intense physical activities such as running. If you’re a runner, then there are some running dehydration symptoms you should take note of. These symptoms are, of course, not just felt by runners exclusively and more often than not, overlap with other common signs of dehydration.

Runners are more susceptible to dehydration, especially in hot and humid conditions.

The consistent exertion causes you to sweat, which in turn kick starts your body’s efficient cooling system; the evaporation your sweat from your skin’s surface releases the heat that was produced by the exertion of your muscles.

This mechanism lessens the burden on their body and straining muscles, allowing an athlete or runner to continue to perform. The replenishment of this lost fluid.

This leaves us with many more questions such as when exactly should you hydrate, how much fluid you should drink, and what are the symptoms of dehydration you should be looking out for.

Staying Hydrated Is Not Over Hydrating

Contrary to the popular belief that staying hydrated means taking in as much fluid as you possibly can, advances in medicine and medical research has brought to light that too much liquid can potentially be as harmful as too little!

Overhydrating leads to hyponatremia, a condition wherein your blood gets diluted which the kidneys cannot filter fast enough to keep a proper sodium balance. This causes symptoms including vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and frequent urination.

So, what exactly do runners or athletes have to do to minimize their exposure to dehydration as well as hyponatremia? Well, understanding what exactly dehydration is, knowing what the running dehydration symptoms are, and learning how to combat them are a good starting point.

What Exactly Is Dehydration?

Simply put, dehydration is the loss of fluids from the body. The loss of fluids comes about in many ways during our regular activities throughout the day such as sweating, making bathroom breaks, and being exposed to environmental factors such as the heat.

Normally, this loss when paired with the amount of fluid intake a person has during the day seems like it would not have too profound an effect. After all, you’ve gone an entire day at the office and realize you only had one glass of water—but you aren’t dead yet! Seems pretty harmless, right? Nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, dehydration isn’t just an acute loss of body fluids. Whenever your fluid consumption is less than that of the fluid you lost during the day, you are already dehydrated. While it is true that mild dehydration is not too great of a concern, it is a start, and further loss of fluids can happen easily especially when you engage in rigorous activities, so it is always best to be vigilant!

Running Dehydration Symptoms: Red Flags

A runner or an athlete who starts a workout in a dehydrated state will not only considerably lower his or her performance but could also put his or her life in danger!

Since research has yet to determine exactly how many glasses of fluids a person should drink, mainly because of all the varying factors including the individual needs of each person, a good rule of thumb is to listen to your body. What we are trying to say is that when you are thirsty, drink!

Several medical professionals state that once you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated and you shouldn’t let it get to that point. Well, your body will be sending out several cues to let you know what it needs. You only have to make sure to heed these cues, especially if you’re engaged in a rigorous activity such as running.

Here are some common dehydration symptoms that runners may experience:

  • relatively milder dry eyes
  • fatigue
  • general sluggishness
  • cramps
  • muscle spasms
  • headaches or migraines

And should you not address dehydration as soon as you feel the start of these symptoms or even just when you started feeling thirsty, then even more serious effects can occur. Even a moderate level of dehydration can cause severe issues such as fainting and convulsion.

Additionally, dehydration can easily progress into heat exhaustion or heat stroke which can even prove to be fatal when not addressed immediately.

Arguably, it is unfortunate that the effects of dehydration can only be felt long after you first experience the beginnings its symptoms, and sadly it easily impacts your day and workout routines.

Moreover, the amount of time you’ll be feeling it will depend on the severity of your dehydration and the symptoms, but you don’t want to get to that point, do you? Thus, if you’re starting to feel these symptoms, the best thing is to rectify it with rehydration.

Staying Hydrated: How To Combat Dehydration

As a runner or athlete, sometimes simply drinking water will not be enough. Constantly engaging in strenuous physical activities also causes your sugar and sodium levels to go down. Thankfully, there are specialized sports drinks that not just quench your thirst but help bring back your sugar and sodium levels to normal.

The most obvious way to prevent dehydration, as discussed above, is to listen to your body and replenish the fluid you lost or more, in regular intervals, of course, depending on what your body is telling you. However, we can’t disregard the fact that there will be times when you won’t be able to address your body’s needs right away. If this is the case, then you simply have to take every chance you get to rehydrate yourself.

For one, if you’re someone who is always on-the-go, then make sure you have a bottle of water in your bag. You can simply take a gulp or two while you’re racing the stairs or running an errand. Another thing you can do is to drink up lots of water upon waking up, before and after doing a task or munching on a snack.

In conclusion, having read this article, we hope to have enlightened you with the devastating effects of dehydration. Hopefully, that is enough for you to take this issue seriously and make ways to keep your body well hydrated for your safety.


Christine Adorno
The Wired Runner