Hydration for Runners 101

By SSQ Insurance, our title partner.

Staying hydrated while running is important. Doing it properly is crucial and depends on the duration of physical activity. A good hydration strategy is all the more relevant since the 2020 edition of the SSQ Insurance Quebec City Marathon will be held virtually and therefore without a refreshment station.

Our collaborator Valérie Fernandez looked into the subject and shares some pointers to help you prepare according to the race distance you choose for the virtual edition of the SSQ Insurance Quebec City Marathon.

If you plan to run for less than an hour, water is usually enough to stay hydrated, especially if you don’t sweat much. To avoid discomfort, drink a few sips (150-350ml) every 15-20 minutes according to your body’s tolerance.

When physical exertion exceeds one hour, you need a game plan since water won’t be enough. The body needs fuel in the form of easily absorbed carbohydrates (that means sugar!) to keep going. It also needs to replenish the water and mineral lost in sweat during a workout.

Sports drinks then become the option of choice. Once again, it’s best to drink the right combination in small doses to avoid discomfort and maximize performance. See our guidelines below to help you choose the right one.

For long-distance runners, namely those who will be running for over two hours (half or full marathon), it’s best to have a personalized hydration strategy that factors in the physical effort required and runner’s profile.

Going against this advice increases an athlete’s risk of encountering problems that could adversely affect both performance and health. A trainer, kinesiologist or nutritionist has the know-how to help you establish a strategy that will ensure you reach the finish line safely.  

The table below will give you a clearer picture:

Running time





Hydration plan


To cool the body and replenish lost water

To energize the muscles that mustkeep performing

To replenish the minerals lost in sweat

To replenish the minerals lost in sweat

Based on body weight, perspiration, and how long you run.

Less than
1 hour

150 to 350 ml (6 to 12 oz) every 15-20 minutes

1 hour

150 to 350 ml (6 to 12 oz) every 15-20 minutes

30-60 g per hour

50-70 mg/100 ml of water

75-125 mg


Over 2 hours


Talk to a personal trainer or sports nutritionist

Sports drinks: Know how to choose!

Sports drinks are tailor-made to hydrate athletes active for over an hour. However, to be effective, these drinks must contain the right mix of three important nutrients:

  • 30-60 g of carbs (sucrose, fructose and/or maltodextrin) per litre
  • 460-690 mg of sodium per litre
  • 78-195 mg of potassium per litre

You can also try sports jujubes or gels, but these must be consumed with a specific quantity of water to obtain proportions similar to the above.

The 2020 edition of the SSQ Insurance Quebec City Marathon will undoubtedly be a landmark event. So plan ahead, prepare and don’t overlook the importance of staying hydrated. The entire SSQ Insurance team wishes you an invigorating, enjoyable run!

Source : dietitians.ca

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