XENIA — Runners … pay attention to what and how much you’re drinking. It can’t be emphasized enough. Drink enough water before, during and after any form of exercise.

Not properly hydrated? Skimping on water can lead to fatigue and muscle cramping.

Here’s the bottom line on proper hydration:

– On runs of an hour or more, carry water with you and consume 6-8 ounces every 20 minutes.

– During pre-training and 5K, 10K or Marathon training, weigh yourself before and after each run and get your body weight back to the weight it was before the run by drinking water or sports drink within the first hours after the run.

– If you’re doing a long run or race (more than 8 to 10 miles), make sure you’re well-hydrated during the few days leading up to your long run.

– Avoid cocktails for at least one week before your race. Alcohol dehydrates you and disrupts a good night’s sleep, something every runner needs before race day. Running with a hangover? Not a good idea. You’ll start your run dehydrated.

Here’s how to start

– An hour before your run, drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated, sugar-free fluid

– Stop drinking at that point or you’ll find yourself waiting in long lines for the Port-O-Potty, a surefire way to kill your time

– Drink another 4-8 ounces right before you start to make sure you’re hydrated before your run

Drinking on the run

– During your runs, take in 4 to 6 ounces of water every 20 minutes

– During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), drink a sports drink to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes)

If you don’t have access to water on your running routes, you’ll have to carry your own fluids with you. Here are some handy water bottles that you can use while you run:

The Ultimate Direction FastDraw Extreme is one of the most popular hand-helds. It’ll keep your fluids cold, no matter what the temperature is outside. The neoprene band that wraps around the bottle prevents you from warming up the liquid inside, while protecting your hands from getting ice cold. The bottle also features a zipper stash compartment that can hold keys, cash or gel. www.ultimatedirection.com

The Fuel Belt holds four, dishwasher-safe 8 oz. bottles. A good idea is to fill three with water and one with a sports drink. A detachable race pocket holds sports gels, money, keys, or anything else that you might need for a long run or race. The Fuel Belt is comfortable and not too heavy. It’s a must-have for long distance runs. www.fuelbelt.com

Post-run hydration

– Rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run

– If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. Drink until it’s a pale yellow color.

Is cold or warm water best?

Rumor has it that you can get cramps from drinking cold water before running. This is a myth. Cold water is actually absorbed in the body quicker than warm water. Drinking water, whether it’s warm or cold, before or during running should not give you cramps. The best ways to prevent side stitches while running is to make sure you warm-up properly and to breathe deeply through your mouth.

5K Training Tip – 2 Weeks from Race Day

You’re now two weeks from Race Day for the annual Spring Has Sprung Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk on April 14. During this week of training, your endurance and strength should be such that you can jog continuously for about 2 ½ – 3 miles. On your chosen training days (3-5 days are recommended), always start with a brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then: Day 1 – Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes); Day 2- Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes); Day 3 – Jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).

Training Tip brought to you by www.coolrunning.com. Adapted from www.designerwhey.com.

It’s not too late to register for the Spring Has Sprung Healthy Families 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, April 14 at the Xenia YMCA. It’s just $15 per person until April 6, then it increases to $20 per person through the day of the race. Register online at www.speedy-feet.com. You can also register the day of the race. For more information call 937-374-5683 or email [email protected].

Healthy Lifestyle Corner