Sage Canaday running through the mountains wearing a Zephyr Pro Vest.

Tips from Athletes Scotty Hawker &
Sage Canaday

Staying Hydrated: Tips from Athletes Scotty Hawker and Sage Canaday

Proper hydration is key for optimal running performance, but sometimes hydration needs can vary depending on the environment, distance and temperature. We spoke with CamelBak Athletes Scotty Hawker and Sage Canaday about their advice on staying properly hydrated.  

Born in New Zealand, Athlete Scotty Hawker has made his name as one the world's leading trail and ultra-runners, thanks to a string of podium finishes in Ultra-Trail World Tour Races.  

Oregon-native and professional mountain ultra-trail runner, Sage Canaday, has participated in races across the world—of all lengths and terrains ranging from beachfront to Pikes Peak Ascent. 


Scotty Hawker

Our Athlete and Professional Trail and Ultra Runner, Scotty Hawker gives some insight on how he stays hydrated before, during and after a race. 


How often do you hydrate during a run? What are the main differences and challenges when it comes to very long distances? 

The key factor for me regarding hydration is the condition I'm running in. In cooler/cold weather, I can go hours without any hydration, whereas in warmer or hot conditions, I can need up to 600mL an hour.

The challenges you face during long races/adventures can often include running in a range of different temperatures and conditions, so your body needs to be able to adjust and adapt, while staying hydrated for a longer period. Sometimes, it's also harder to take on fluid through nighttime sections of races, so this is always another challenge. 


Do you have any tips for pre-run and post-run hydration? 

Pre-run/race specifically, I will always have a bottle with me when out and about to ensure I can drink when [I’m] thirsty. Often, I'll have coconut water or another hydration mix in [my water]. Post-race normally includes multiple cold beers (after rehydrating properly of course). 


What’s your recommended gear for hydration on the trails when it comes to the different options like vests, belts and handhelds? 

Personally, I like to carry all hydration in my Zephyr™ Vest. I'm not able to use handhelds with the racing I normally do, as I need my hands for hiking poles or hands-on-knees hiking on a steep uphill. 

I prefer to only have lighter things in my running belt like gels, gloves, buff, etc. because I don't like to have too much weight around my hips. This is just a personal preference; I know many people have no issue with putting a soft flask in a running belt. 


What would you recommend to a person that’s getting into running regarding hydration? 

Always have the capacity to drink to thirst when racing. I'd always rather carry an extra 500mL and not need it, than carry too little and run into problematic dehydration issues. You can always tip out water as needed, as well, if you know you're going to have more than enough. 


Any other advice you have on the topic or any other thoughts on what’s crucial about hydration in your sport? 

I would always err on the side of underhydration rather than overhydration. Easier to "top up" than the issues you can have when taking on too much fluid. 

Another key thing to remember in mountain races is to not take on too much fluid before longer and/or steep downhill sections. This can help prevent the frustrating issue of the sloshing of fluid in the gut, which can lead to nausea and vomiting.

Knowing the race elevation profile is crucial, having the GPX file logged in your watch so you can check where you are and what's coming up is also a great option. 


Sage Canaday

Our Athlete and Professional Mountain Ultra Trail Runner, Sage Canaday shares his tips and tricks for hydration and peak performance. 


How often do you hydrate during a run? What are the main differences and challenges when it comes to very long distances?

I've found that my hydration levels will change based on the weather and the effort I'm putting out. On average, I'll hydrate close to 0.5L of fluid an hour on a run-in moderate temperature conditions.

One of the biggest challenges with balancing hydration levels with effort (besides running in higher heat and humidity) is running hard uphill at high altitudes in the sun. It can be easy to become dehydrated quickly if you aren't sticking to a drinking schedule plan in those kinds of conditions. I have a reminder on my watch to drink and fuel every 20 minutes to ensure I'm not going too long without hydrating or eating. 

When running very long distances in the mountains, for hours at a time, sometimes one of the challenges is finding potable water for refills. Thankfully, my sponsor CamelBak® has hydration bladders that hold 1.5L to 3L of fluid, and I usually don't have to rely on refilling them that often. 

When the need for a refill does arise, it is helpful to have a water filter and to know where some water sources are on your route. CamelBak has partnered with LifeStraw to create water filters to help meet hydration needs for refilling on the run.


Do you have any tips for pre-run and post-run hydration? 

Both pre- and post-run hydration are essential for overall health and running performance. For me, hydration starts in the morning right after I wake up and I make sure to drink something besides just coffee with breakfast. I usually have some water, as well as juice in the morning.

Before I start my run, I often have a CamelBak® Eddy®+ 20oz bottle in my car so I can sip electrolyte fluid on the way to the mountain trails. I also pack another bottle in my car for after my run, as well as a salty snack. 

Sometimes, I fill my post-run CamelBak® bottle with a recovery drink that also has some protein in it and keep it in a cooler if I'm going to be out for several hours. 

Post-run hydration for me lasts for hours after a long run. I try to keep a balance of different kinds of drinks that have some electrolytes in them as well as just plain water. 


What’s your recommended gear for hydration on the trails when it comes to the different options like vests, belts, and handhelds? 

The CamelBak gear that I choose for a particular run on the trails comes down to the estimated duration I'm going to be running and what the weather is like. 

For example, if I'm doing a "shorter" run, under 60-90 minutes in cooler weather conditions, I'll often run with just one handheld like the CamelBak® Quick Grip Chill™. I usually also have the CamelBak® Ultra™ Belt on my waist as well to hold some gels and snacks. 

On a longer run over 1.5 hours (or any run in hot conditions), I'll often go with something like the CamelBak® Zephyr™ Vest and fill the front two soft flasks with fluid. If it's a super long run, I'll either use a bladder or a bigger vest like the Octane™ 18.

On longer runs, usually a vest is the way to go for me because I can store more food and clothing items, like rain jackets and other things that might be needed for multiple hour efforts on a mountain. 


What would you recommend to a person that’s getting into running regarding hydration? 

I'd say to make sure you have an efficient way of carrying and storing plenty of fluid. Having a run specific vest is something that you're going to need for safety reasons and hydration is a key component to that. 

I'd also recommend trying different sports drinks on the run and record what kind of sodium and potassium levels you are consuming in different hydration products. Some people sweat "saltier" and might need a lot more than just plain water to meet their hydration needs. 

Also, when you're not running or working out, remain on a consistent hydration schedule throughout the day. Have some portable water bottles like the CamelBak® Eddy®+ or a Stainless Steel bottle, and make it a priority to sip from them and refill them often during the day. 


Any other advice you have on the topic or any other thoughts on what’s crucial about hydration in your sport? 

Have a hydration (and nutrition) plan for your long runs and races. This will give you a framework of how often you might have to refill your bottles or hydration bladder.

You're going to have to form a plan based on your individual needs, the weather, and what kind of training you are doing for an event. It may take some trial and error, but that's okay! However, it's always best to pack more fluid than you think you might need and to have some electrolytes on hand as well.

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