Monday, May 30, 2011

VOTE! How often do you drink from the bottle?

According to a Runners World article posted by, the best way to gauge how much you should drink when training or racing is to ... gulp ... let your thirst be your guide.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

"It's pretty common for athletes to hit at least one or two percent dehydration during endurance events," says Craig Horswill, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. "The body's temperature-regulating mechanism is affected even at one percent dehydration."

It is, therefore, Horswill's (and Gatorade's) opinion that even small amounts of dehydration should be avoided because it will affect performance.

At the other end of the spectrum, overhydrating can be even more dangerous than not drinking enough. Hyponatremia occurs when your fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, which results in low blood-sodium levels. Symptoms—nausea, disorientation, muscle weakness—can be similar to dehydration. Giving additional liquids to hyponatremic runners only exacerbates the problem by diluting their blood-salt levels even more, which can lead to coma and, in the worst cases, death.

Be sure and read the entire article for the full story on both sides of the argument, but needless to say, the conclusion that the International Marathon Medical Directors Association released came down to one simple prescription: Drink when you're thirsty.

"The new scientific evidence says that thirst will actually protect athletes from the hazards of both over- and underdrinking," said IMMDA.

Isn't the body a remarkable machine? I have been teased by triathlete friends about dragging along an Aquafina for a 5K, but I know that my body needs it.

I also have a friend that can't consume any liquids at all during a race of any length or she gets nauseous.

It really is about the genetic makeup of each individual and no one-size recommendation fits all.

So, go on, ya'll. Keep teasing me about my 20 ounces, and we'll see who's laughing when I pass you to cross the finish line.

Yeah, I know. That last line made me laugh, too.


Meredith said...

Bob and I did five miles on bikes today at Lunken and I brought a bottle along. I didn't drink it all, but it was there in the event I needed it. So I won't tease you as long as you don't tease me.

Mike said...

I've heard the drink to thirst approach too and while it makes some sense, I'm a little skeptical. At least for me, I think that by the time I'm thirsty, I'm already in the hole with no way to catch up.

TriGirl said...

I tend to dehydrate at the drop of a i generally drink more than others. I guess if you figure out what works for you that is the best way to deal with race hydration.

Lora said...

Five miles? That's awesome, Meredith, especially in today's 95-degree weather! Teasing not even appropriate, but kudos are!

Lora said...

I know what you mean, Mike. I try to drink quite a bit 20-30 minutes before working out, but seldom do. Maybe that's why I need to double the number of flasks on my Fuel Belt the longer my runs are taking me! Good luck out there training this week!

Lora said...

I get thirsty pretty quickly, too, TriGirl. Sounds like you've got a good plan worked out. Have a wonderful night!


The toughest thing is while in the middle of an Ironman in 90+F weather trying to take in enough water. The bottom line in this case is "suck" in as much as humanly possible at every aid station and let the chips fall where they may

Lora said...

Bob, I tend to agree with you. If I'm going to get sick, I'd rather it be because I took in too much. Nonetheless, I'm still probably in the hole at that point. Have an awesome day!


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