Staying hydrated seems easy enough, but oftentimes, especially for young runners, taking the time to refuel can be forgotten when the focus is on training or the excitement of race day.

But the reality is hydration should be at the top of the priority list for all runners, both kids and adults because it not only helps to increase performance but, also protects your health.

Signs and Effects of Dehydration

What does dehydration look like? Common signs to watch out for include:

Forgetting to stay hydrated can seriously impact how you feel and perform. Dehydration can cause low energy, foggy thinking, and even health problems if ignored.

How to Measure Your Hydration Needs

Young athlete drinking water

​​1. Determine Your Sweat Rate

To know how much hydration your body needs, you can start by figuring out your sweat rate. This means understanding how much sweat your body produces when you run and how much water you lose through sweating.

To measure your sweat rate, weigh yourself (without clothes) before you go for a run, and then weigh yourself again after you finish. The difference in weight is the amount of fluid you’ve lost through sweating.

2. Monitor Changes in Weight

Another way to measure your hydration needs is by monitoring changes in your weight before and after exercise. 

Weigh yourself before you start your run, and then weigh yourself again after you finish. Any decrease in weight indicates fluid loss through sweat.

According to Hoag Sports Medicine physician Dr. Paiyuam Asnaashari, D.O., for every pound of weight lost during exercise, you’ve lost about a pint of water. 

After your run, it’s essential to replenish the water you’ve lost to keep yourself hydrated and feeling your best.

3. Pay Attention to Thirst Sensation

Listen to your body’s signals of thirst during and after exercise. Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink water to stay hydrated. 

If you’re thirsty, make sure to drink water to quench your thirst and keep yourself properly hydrated.

4. Track Fluid Intake

Keep track of how much water you drink throughout the day, especially before, during, and after exercise. 

Keeping a hydration log can help you monitor your fluid intake and ensure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. 

What Should Young Athletes Use to Stay Hydrated?

hydration options for runners

A common question we get from runners of all ages is “water or sports drink?”. What counts as the best source of hydration?

The best options for liquids, during and after running are water and sports drinks. Sports drinks replace electrolytes and potassium. But for those wary about little young runners drinking sports drinks, alternatives include:

Young runners should drink water before, during, and after their run; this will help rebalance fluid levels and keep performances at a peak level.