Breakthrough Study Reveals New Guidelines Regarding Running
Road Runner Sports Run Today
Whether you're a novice runner or have been
running (and perhaps racing) for years, you're surely familiar with the
importance of staying well-hydrated. For years runners have been told that they
needed to drink before feeling thirsty in order to avoid dehydration. However,
the recommendations that runners, particularly those taking longer than 4 hours
to finish a marathon, should drink "as much as possible" have changed. United
States of America Track & Field (USATF) recently issued new guidelines
New Hydration Recommendations
Why New Recommendations Now?
- Long-distance runners should consume 1
liter of fluid for every liter lost during a race or long training run,
equaling a 1:1 ratio
- Runners should begin races and training
runs well-hydrated. You'll know you're well-hydrated when your urine is clear
or pale yellow, not dark yellow.
- Drink only when thirsty during a race or
long training run, not every mile or so.
- Rather than plain water, drink a sports
drink that contains sodium and other electrolytes, like the following:
These new guidelines have been developed because of recent changes in thinking
among scientists and researchers in the sports medicine community. Several
runners have died in the past few years at marathons, and the cause of death
has been determined to be hyponatremia. Hyponatremia means literally "water
intoxication". When you drink too much fluid, you flush much-needed sodium and
other minerals out of your bloodstream. The lack of sodium and electrolytes can
lead to seizures, fluid in the lungs, respiratory arrest and death if the
runner is not given proper treatment.
As more and more runners train
for and enter marathons, the average finishing times are increasing. Scientists
have determined that runners who take longer than 4 hours to finish are the
most likely to develop this dangerous condition. Medical personnel at finish
lines have often mistakenly thought that a fallen runner was suffering from
dehydration and have pumped them full of more fluids, which only exacerbated
the condition. But now that researchers have had a few years to learn about and
understand what happens to the body when a runner ingests too much liquid,
those situations can be avoided in the future.
Be self sufficient on
your long runs and use one of these great hydration tools:
Sensible Approach to Hydration
Being sensible about hydration can help
you avoid heat illnesses (heat cramps, exhaustion and stroke), dehydration and
- Drink fluids only until your urine is
clear. It isn't necessary to keep drinking (particularly the night before a
race) so often that you have the need to urinate every 15-30 minutes.
- On hot, muggy days try to avoid training
during the late morning or early afternoon hours. Run early in the morning or
in the evening when the air is cooler.
- Never train in a sweat suit or nylon suit
during hot weather to acclimate yourself to heat training or to lose
- Choose sports drinks containing sodium
and electrolytes rather than plain water for hydration during training and
- Drink enough of a hydration sports fluid
to give you clear urine prior to a training run or race, then drink only when
you start to feel thirsty.
- Monitor your body. Some people sweat more
than others. Some people also lose more minerals in their sweat then others. If
you're the kind of person who finishes a workout caked with white salt around
your hairline and/or under your arms, you may need to take in more of a sports
drink than someone who loses less.
- If you're running a marathon, pay
attention to signals that you may be developing dehydration, over-hydration or
a heat-related illness. If you start to feel woozy, overly fatigued, tingling
in your fingers or toes and you feel a headache coming on, stop running and let
medical personnel know that you need attention.
As a runner
you need to be in-tune with your body. Even if you never race, it's still
important that you maintain the proper levels of sodium and minerals in your
bloodstream. Everyone has individual needs: you may need to drink 6 oz of fluid
during a 25-minute training run, someone else may not need to drink at all
during a 10K. Learn what your own body needs and adjust your fluid intake
Check out more info on
hydration and nutrition here