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Hydration is important for everyone, especially runners. The Mayo Clinic website lists three different strategies for staying hydrated, and any of them can work for you.
The bottom line, however, is that if you don't feel thirsty, and if your urine is mostly clear, you are adequately hydrated. And of course, runners and other exercisers might need more water, depending on how hard the workout and how much we sweat.
-IOM recommendations: For what it is worth, the Institute of Medicine recommends daily intake of 3 liters of fluids (13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) for women. This includes any beverage, starting with your morning coffee or tea.
-8x8: The adage about drinking 8 ounces of water 8 times a day doesn't have any science behind it, according to the Mayo Clinic. But it's a handy way to remember how much fluid to drink, and remember that any fluid counts; it doesn't have to be water.
-Fluid replacement: If you are mathematically inclined, think of hydration in terms of replacing the fluid volume lost by urine, sweat, and maintenance of body functions. Based on the average fluid lost daily by most adults, drinking two liters of fluid (water or other beverages) each day will keep you replenished.
I use to get kidney stones and was told by my urologist that when urine was expelled replace it with the same amount by the fluid of your choice. In hot weather,sports or sweating remember to also take this loss into the daily amount of intake of fluids. You can also tell by the color of your urine if it is being replaced at the pace it needs to be replaced. Darker color that is not brought on by medication can mean you need more fluid intake, watch the elderly on the hot days. They will just wipe away the sweat and not replenish it with fluid.
Good point, Pat!