How Much to Drink During a Marathon
The 2011 Chicago Marathon on Sunday marks the beginning of the fall marathon season in the United States, culminating on Nov. 6 with the New York City race. In those two events alone, more than 80,000 runners will attempt to cover the 26.2-mile marathon distance. But two newly released studies suggest that there are reasons to be concerned about some of the racers’ readiness. The studies show that a worrying large percentage of distance runners may not know how to drink.
Some runners may be drinking too much water or other fluids. Others may be taking in too little. And a disconcerting majority don’t seem to be concerned about whether they are drinking a safe amount at all, according to the new reports.
Attitudes and expert guidelines about how much fluid people should drink during prolonged endurance events have changed drastically in the past 15 years. A 1996 Position Stand from the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that “athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating (i.e., body weight loss), or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.” Many of us who ran a marathon in the 1990s were cautioned to “stay ahead” of our thirst, with the warning that by the time we felt thirsty, we would be clinically dehydrated. (Formal definitions of dehydration vary, but most experts agree that losing more than 3 percent of your body weight can be considered dehydration.)
Read Full Article