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How to find out if you’re dehydrated

The quick test that lets you know if you're well hydrated

Most of Canada experienced a heat warning over the weekend, with temperatures skyrocketing to upwards of 40 C. This heat has caused some serious dehydration, especially for runners.

We know some of the signs of dehydration: you have a headache, you feel tired, you feel weak, but it’s harder to know exactly how dehydrated you’ve become post-run.

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Jennifer Sygo was a guest on the Shakeout Podcast two weeks ago. She talked about runners hydration needs. “It’s good safety to have a sense of how much weight you lose over the course of a run.” Sygo says that everyone is different in how much they sweat, so there’s a quick test you can run to find out how dehydrated you are.

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It’s a simple test and all you need is a digital scale. You want to weigh yourself with minimal clothing on before you head out the door. Also make sure you use the washroom before weighing yourself. Take note of that number and how much you drink during your run. Once you come home do the same test, again with minimal clothing on, following a trip to the bathroom, and see how much weight you’ve lost.

Sygo says that for a 150 lb. person, losing three pounds or under is a safe zone, but more than that and you need to address how you’re hydrating on the go.

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When planning your runs, consider if and when there are water fountains or a place to stop for a drink. Knowing this can mean the difference between a strong and successful finish to a run versus a slow, defeated one. And when it’s really hot and humid, you may also need to take in a bit of water as often as every 10 or 20 minutes so it may become necessary to carry your own fluids using handheld bottles, water belts or a hydration pack/vest. You could also choose to run a smaller loop course and stash a few bottles for convenient access every few kilometres.