Sacramento Running News

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

May 14, 2013 By: John Blue Category: Science, Ultrarunning

How much is enough?

How much is enough?

In the days leading up to my ill-fated attempt at last weekend’s Gold Rush 100K, a few people advised me to “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!” Indeed, for a hot day like Saturday, proper hydration was as key to success as pacing and eating.

Even still, advice on hydration–much of it based more on folklore than science–can be confusing as heck.

Water? Electrolyte drinks? Salt tablets? How much? How often? Even after running dozens of marathons and ultramarathons, I’m still struggling to manage my hydration and fueling.

Much of this confusion can be blamed on vaguely scientific sounding recommendations made by manufacturers of sports drinks and supplements.

Some time ago, I wrote about Tim Noakes’ recent book Waterlogged: The serious problem of overhydration in endurance sports.  In the book, Noakes make the argument for “self regulation.” Drink to satisfy your thirst, not on a schedule.

I’m not sure I’m totally on board, but I did find his research supports me not worrying about it so much.

As that summer’s heat is now upon us, this seems as good a time as any to review Noakes’ work. Fortunately for those of you who are too busy to read, or illiterate, you can listen to this very interesting podcast of Professor Noakes being interviewed on this topic by Peter Brukner of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  It’s the perfect thing for your next Saturday morning drive to Foresthill. It will certainly give you something to talk about with your trail-mates.

Be careful out there!

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