Is It OK to Run Without Water?

The importance of staying hydrated when running can never be underestimated. Runners understand why it’s necessary to stay updated, that’s why they drink plenty of water throughout the day to meet their hydration needs. However, it can be confusing to know whether you should or not drink water during your run. 

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If it’s a short-distance run, staying hydrated/drinking water shouldn’t be a huge concern. However, if you are running for a long time, or as it keeps getting warm outside, you should consider drinking considerable amounts of water. 

Beginners should be concerned about drinking since drinking water mid-way through your run can result in cramping and other upset things you might not wish to experience. 

As simple as it sounds, drinking water while running is a topic that requires attention. We need guidelines on how to drink water during your run, and to know how necessary it is to drink water during your runs. 

I suggest you continue reading to know more: 

Should runners drink water before going to run? 

Should drink water before you run?

Just like other high-intensity activities, running results in sweating. In the process you lose excess water which needs to be replaced. Therefore, before you consider going for a run, you should remember to keep your body hydrated. 

2 glasses of water

If you’re not going to spend a lot of time running, drinking at least two glasses of water, two to three hours before running will sustain you throughout the entire exercise. However, longer runs, especially those taking more than sixty minutes require an extra H2O boost, which can be supplemented by drinking a lot of water. 

Is it advisable to drink water while running? 

Should you drink water while running, is a popular question among many people. Most people believe that drinking water while running can result in issues such as gastrointestinal distress. Others hold the view that you should drink water while running to stay hydrated. But, which is true?

Sweating results in the loss of water and minerals from the body. It’s, therefore, necessary to drink water while running, if you’re planning to run for more than 20 minutes, or take part in high-intensity running.  

However, you should be careful with the way you consume water while running. The water you drink should be determined according to your thirst. The main goal is to ensure you are properly hydrated throughout your run. So you should consider drinking the right amounts to offset dehydration but not cause discomfort during your run. 

You can stay hydrated during your run in various ways. One of the ways is drinking at a water fountain that is along the way during your run. Another easy way is by using a hydration waist pack to carry water, which allows your hands to stay free throughout the run. Alternatively, using handheld water bottles is an effective way to stay hydrated during shorter runs.  

All these are brilliant ways to help you drink water when you feel thirsty during your run. 

What if I drink water after my run? 

After a high-intensity run, you should consider taking a rest of not less than thirty minutes. Then drink one to two glasses of water to replenish your body. It’s worth noting that, you may continue sweating after running. That’s why it’s critical to consistently replace the lost minerals during perspiration with fruits and vegetables, a sports drink or an electrolyte supplement.

Keep this in mind: 

Water is necessary for helping you maintain body hydration. So you need to drink before, during, and after the run. 

Other sports drinks with a combination of sugars, water, and electrolytes are also excellent beverages to drink before, during, and after your run. However, it’s advisable to watch what you consume before, during, and after running. 

Gatorade for hydration

Some drinks might not be good for your body, especially before running. Dairy-based energy products take a long time to digest. They can also cause stomach upsets which might ruin your workout. 

Some people prefer consuming caffeinated drinks before starting their run. While it’s okay to drink coffee at moderated levels, drinking too much of it will result in the urge to urinate more because it’s a mild diuretic drink. That’s something you may not want to happen during your running session. 

Drinking Coffee before a run

Moreover, drinking a lot of coffee could cause cardiovascular issues during your run. It’s important to ensure not to consume more than two cups of coffee before running. 


Water intake is affected by various elements including weight, age, height, weather, duration of your run, and more. If you’re prone to sweating a lot, you will often tend to drink a lot of water compared to an average person. 

Similarly, individuals who weigh more drink a lot of water because the body uses a lot of energy to carry their weight. Therefore, the body needs water to meet the body’s replenishment needs. Runners should be knowledgeable about their own particular bodies during running to understand the amount of water they need to drink before, during, and after the exercise. 

Tips on how to drink water 

Proper hydration is key for a runner’s health and performance levels. Water enables the body to regulate temperature, get rid of waste and toxins, provide more energy to the cells, and lubricate our joints. Besides, you should drink a lot of water to increase your rate of recovery, reduce chances of injury, minimize cramping and enhance your performance. 

Woman Running in a City

During running, more heat is generated unlike when we’re just resting. The body is cooled down through sweating. However, in the process, we lose excess water and other important electrolytes such as potassium and sodium. You should be keen not to lose more than two percent of your body weight through water, to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can lead to general tiredness, headaches, increased heart rates, and cramping. Your level of performance may also decline too devastating levels. 

So what should you do to maintain proper hydration levels? 

Knowing your rate of sweating 

Woman Sweating

It’s important to measure your weight before running and after you’re done, particularly for runs of longer durations. If you notice any weight loss after your run, you should ensure to drink 20-24 ounces of water to replenish your body weight. This also includes consuming foods rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes. Some of these foods include peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Carbohydrates will provide the much-needed fuel for your muscles, while electrolytes are necessary for the effective daily functioning of your body. 

The rate of sweating is regulated by several factors including body size, gender, the intensity of your run, air temperature, level of fitness, and much more. For example, well-trained runners tend to sweat more compared to their less-trained counterparts. This is because sweating is the most efficient way of cooling the bodies of well-trained athletes. 

Drink water regularly 

The best way to replenish lost water during running to drink water accordingly throughout the day. However, you should avoid drinking a lot of water at one time. 

You should drink water during the day by sipping from a water bottle. Also, consider taking fruits since their great sources of water, fiber, and electrolytes. 

Feeling thirsty is not a clear indication of your body’s hydration levels. Instead, you should rely on the color of your urine to indicate your hydration status. If your urine is clear or light yellow, you don’t need to drink a lot of water. On the other hand, if your urine is dark then you need to drink more water.  

Individuals who like taking alcohol should consider rehydrating before drinking alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate your body and result in less storage space for carbohydrates in the muscles. The effects are poor performance levels and a high chance of getting injured. 

Proper hydration before, during, and after running 

It’s equally important to drink water before, during, and after running as you would throughout the day. 

Your aim should be to drink 16 ounces(2 cups) of water, two hours before running. You can combine this with a good meal. Drinking six to eight ounces of water, 15 minutes before running is highly recommended. 

Runs that last more than one hour, require runners to drink water at regular intervals, according to their rate of sweating. Individuals with high sweat rates are advised to drink 16 ounces of water, after every 15 minutes. Besides drinking water, it’s important to consume carbohydrates and other foods rich in electrolytes. Sports gels and dried fruit are effective foods to replenish your body. 

After completing your run, you should have rest, then drink not less than 16 ounces of water and a good meal. However, for those keen on their sweat rates, drink 20-24 ounces of water per pound lost to replenish your bodies effectively.  


Woman running in the trees

Running is a popular exercise among many people of all ages because of the health benefits it brings. However, you need to pay attention to some essential things to gain more from running. One important thing is to ensure proper hydration levels before, during, and after running. It’s not okay to run without water. We need water to stay hydrated and to power our muscles to complete longer runs.