Creative Ways to Hydrate and Fuel in the Heat

In the wake of a few heat waves in New England, we bring you a post on hydrating and fueling for optimum performance from nutritionist Kim Evans, who has been a guest speaker for the running campers in Craftsbury. While this post centers on hydration for runners, it applies across endurance disciplines. Thanks Kim for sharing your knowledge! Make sure to check out her recipes below.

From Kim: The topic of hydration for runners is not a new one however the current conversation is sounding a little differently than it has in the past.  Driven by the idea that any amount of dehydration was a detriment to performance runners have gotten practiced at forcing themselves to drink prescribed and scheduled amounts seeking to replace 100% of fluids lost in sweat.

Post run hydration is looking tasty!

New research suggests that not only is this unnecessary, it may actually be a key culprit in some of the GI distress that runners are known to struggle with because it is nearly impossible to absorb fluid at the rate that would be required to do so.  Recent studies show that when runners drink by thirst they intuitively replace about 65-70% of lost fluids with no increased risk of heat illness or negative impact of performance. Now this does not mean you should wait until you are seeing stars to hydrate.  The key here is to be tuned into your thirst mechanism and respond appropriately. And in the heat that also means not simply hydrating with water but hydrating with an isotonic solution with a 6-8% concentration of carbohydrates and adequate electrolytes for your sodium losses.  Salty sweaters, you need more sodium. And for the rest of you, stop watering down your sports drinks. The science behind them is actually good science, although NO they don’t need to be neon blue to work. If you are interested in a more natural sports drink I recommend Skratch labs or you can make your own: a simple combo of lemon or lime juice, maple syrup or honey, water, and salt.

I will also say that for me, fueling running in the heat of the summer invites creativity.  Many runners already find pre and post run eating challenging and the heat it can be even more challenging to stay on top of optimal fueling needs. But for those of you who want to push yourself and avoid injury and fatigue it is important to find creative solutions. Make it easy on yourself to refuel while also rehydrating by throwing some watermelon and grapes into the freezer to add to a smoothie or eat cold when you get back from your run.  I recently discovered that I could make my own “Ice Pops” and my own “Push Up Pops”. These have been a fun staple in my house. These give you the flexibility of making something that is more juice based for a simple and refreshing treat after a short run or to make a more nutrient dense and protein containing “smoothie pop” which might be better as part of a longer run recovery plan. Either way they are fun, fun, fun. I have included a few links so that you know where you can buy the ZOKO molds for the “Ice Pops” and the ziplock packaging for the “Push Up Pops”.  

You can follow this link to Healthy Living Market and Cafe for some recipes that I created.

Kimberly Evans MS RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and food enthusiast with over 30 years of experience in helping clients achieve health as a lifestyle. She firmly believes the “good life” should be everyday life. Kimberly has a lifelong love of ballet, running and yoga. Kimberly is passionate about making it easy to connect to multiple sources of nourishment to support your health and vitality .Are you ready to put all of the pieces in place to live a fully nourished lifestyle and feel and perform your best?  Kimberly will help you create a customized “fully nourished” blueprint that supports your health and lifestyle goals.  Send Kim an email at to get started.  

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2 Responses to Creative Ways to Hydrate and Fuel in the Heat

  1. Dori DiToro says:

    What is the specific recipe for home made sports drink? That is, amounts for water, lime or lemon juice, honey or syrup, and salt.

  2. Laurence Wagner says:

    Back in the 1970’s an article appeared in the then current American rowing magazine, possibly of the name American Rowing. Author now long forgotten. The author was a sculler, and did research into the cooling systems of the body during high heat.

    His findings suggested the best re-hydrating drink was a high potassium juice, diluted four parts water. I used to use orange juice, but now I favor pomegranate. The diluted juices provide far more potassium than sports drinks, and more sugar. But sugar at low enough concentration to not burden the kidneys and bring no the need to urinate.

    Forced hydration is not necessary. Most sports drinks provide very inadequate electrolytes, thus forced ingestion aggravates low electrolyte levels. Drinking this recipe, my potassium stays at a high normal level, and I tolerate heat quite well.

    One measure, is that I used to play outdoor volleyball even in 100 degree heat for 5-8 hours in the summer. I took the least breaks of anyone else there (up to 50 people), and was one of the most active. I easily rested the least, shagging spikes while a few practiced, and most rested in the shade between games

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