Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Marathons and Hydration

To me there is something special about fall marathons. When I used to live in the Buffalo area there was an excitement in the air as runners trained at Delaware Park and did their long runs at Chesnut Ridge or on a portion of the Skylon marathon course which went along the Canadian side next to the Niagara river. The air was cool and we all had a common purpose that we obsessed over and talked about.By the way, the Skylon course was the site of the '80 and '84 Olympic marathon trials. In continuing our posts that relate to marathon preparation we offer a few things pertaining to hydration during a marathon. It is not intended to be a complete overview on the subject but it is hoped that it will offer some info that can be helpful. Exercise physiologist,Dr.David Costill (see Aug.18th post) says what most experienced runners know, and that is, if a marathoner waits till he's thirsty to take fluids,than its probably too late to replenish himself sufficiently. Also,to minimize the chances of dehydration,Dr. Costill recommends a pint of fluid should be taken 10 minutes before competition with about one-half pint ingested every 10 to 15 minutes during the marathon. Something often overlooked is that in order to prevent stomach problems, as well as a way of maximizing the absorption of the fluids into your blood, the drink should contain less that 2.5% carbohydrates. Sugar laden drinks spell potential disaster for a marathoner.I'll close with this bit of "fluid"related advice from Arthur Lydiard which I should have heeded before a few of my marathons, "Drinking alcohol within 12 hours of a race is unwise. The alcohol is absorbed by the red blood cells,inhibiting the absorption of oxygen." This is coming from a man who loved to drink beer.

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