Does Drinking Water Cause Cramps When Running?

One of the most often asked questions is whether drinking water can cause cramps when running. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. First, you have to consider the type of cramps, legs or stomach and next consider all the circumstances surrounding the cramps. You need to be well hydrated, particularly if you’re running on a hot day. Dehydration is the runner’s enemy. You don’t have to be a runner, or any type of athlete for that to be true.

When you drink water makes a difference.

You need to hydrate well before you start running. While some places recommend you don’t drink the water right before running, but do it two hours before, it’s a myth. It won’t cause side stitches if you’re warm-up properly. In fact, not drinking adequate amounts of water is far more dangerous and can lead to dehydration or heat stroke. You also need to drink fluids while running and after running.

Don’t guzzle.

One of the biggest causes of stomach cramps for runners is gulping large amounts of water while they run. Sipping frequently is the best choice. Because you’ll be running in a variety of different temperatures, speeds and humidity levels, obeying your thirst is important. The faster you run, the more fluid you need. The amount varies between six to eight ounces every twenty minutes and four to six ounces every 20 minutes. Mouth dryness and thirst should alert you to sip water. Drinking too much at once will cause stomach cramps.

Dehydration, rather than drinking too much water could be the culprit of those leg cramps.

You’re running hard and worry about cramping up because of too much water when you run, so you wait until you can’t take it any longer and take a few sips of water. Suddenly you feel leg cramps. The water must be the culprit, right? That’s not true. You may have waited too long to hydrate and are suffering the consequences, over worked your muscles or lack calcium or other minerals. Lack of water, not drinking water causes cramps.

  • If you’re working out over 90 minutes, a sports drink with electrolytes helps.
  • Be prepared for a run by having water easily accessible. You can carry it in your hand if necessary, but there are inexpensive fluid carriers too.
  • If you’re drinking a sports drink, keep the carbohydrate percentage lower than 10 percent. Any higher and it can promote stomach cramps.
  • Make sure you consider your environment. If your weather is hot, it just makes more sense that you’ll need to hydrate more frequently than you would in cold weather.

For more information, contact us today at The Running Warrior

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