What it really means when you get dry mouth while running

If you've ever experienced a dry mouth while running, you know how frustrating it can be. Running is hard enough without an added irritating side effect, and a dry mouth can quickly throw you off your stride and leave you panicked that something is going wrong. Luckily, there are three main causes of a dry mouth when you're running, and all are fixable. 

The first cause is simple thirst, or a warning sign of impending dehydration (via Livestrong). This likely won't happen until you're a few miles into your run, unless you haven't been drinking water throughout the day prior to your workout or it's particularly warm outside. To battle this, start running with a water bottle or hydration pack, and sip when you first start to notice that dry-mouthed feeling. 

It could be the way you're breathing, also. You may be running with your mouth open, which can lead to a dry mouth feeling, especially in hot, arid climates. Sipping water will help alleviate the irritation caused by this, or drop your pace enough that you can occasionally close your mouth and breathe through your nose. You may even find that switching to breathing through your nose improves your efficiency while running (via Runner's World).

Could it all be in my head?

The dry mouth feeling may also have a psychological element. Similar to how you may have felt before giving a speech in school, if you're nervous about a particular run or a race, you may notice that you have a dry mouth feeling (also known as 'cotton mouth'). The good news is that this is rarely a long-lasting problem: Once you get moving, you'll likely start to relax into your run and find that the dry mouth fades.

You can use the dry mouth symptom as a reminder to work on your relaxation techniques, though. A few deep breaths before you get started may help relax your body, as will simply sipping water before you get going. And the more often you run and race, the more relaxed you'll get: It's like your speech teacher in high school said, it does get easier the more often you do it (via Health Grades).