Hydration for Runners – By Peta Bee

Hydration for Runners

In his article “Hydration for Runners: The New Rules”, Peta Bee discusses the important subject of overhydration. For years experts have told us to drink at every opportunity. They told us to turn up to races as hydrated as possible, to carry water bottles, to drink at least 500ml every half an hour etc. Basically the drinks industry has bombarded us with warnings about the impact of dehydration. Consequently many beginner runners are terrified of dehydration. For example, at events as short as 5 km it is not uncommon to see runners with water bottles. Is this really required? Or are the risks of dehydration over-stated and the risks of overhydration ignored?


In recent years the consequences of overhydration have come to the fore. Overhydration occurs when the body takes on too much water which alters the body’s natural sodium levels. Several deaths at high profile events have led experts to revaluate the issue of hydration. That’s correct, overhydration (hyponatraemia) can kill. Most at risk are those runners at the back if the pack. Those runners who have more time to drink and possibly less experience in endurance events.

Timothy Noakes exposed the issue of overhydration in his 2012 book “Waterlogged”. Importantly, Noakes made an astute observation: the human body has evolved to persistence hunt prey to death in the scorching African Savannah. How did our ancestors survive without a water stop every mile?  This thought alone starts to bring the dehydration myth into doubt.

How to Drink when Running

Peta Bee writes a practical article on how to manage hydration on the ground with Bee’s six rules. The key rule being – listen to your body and rely on thirst.

Read the article below that appeared in Athletics Weekly and let us know your thoughts.

Hydration for Runners: The New Rules