Hydration 101


FACT:The body can only process about 32-ounces of liquids an hour (maybe a bit more in extreme temperatures, but not much more!) so it is important not to over hydrate.

FACT: The body can only process about 350-calories an hour.

Googling through runners and running articles, my head nods with conviction as I have gone experienced few indicators lately on my run that hence leads to lack of hydration not just core preparation.

Let me share to you interesting facts which I’m sure ALL OF US will benefit.

The following five points are hydration and electrolyte problems (Karl King Ultrarunning Magazine analysis, matrix and format May, 2007)


1) Low on fluids and possibly electrolytes.

Symptoms: Plunging weight, lightheaded, shortness of breath, stop and go slower and wobbly pace, urine is yellow and sparse. Hint: Severe dehydration; the worst case scenario.

Solution: Consume liquids immediately. Further deterioration leads to dizzy spells, rust colored urine, fainting and hours of down time, which could lead to the ugly DNF; and will if an IV is used.

*** Immediate indication of dehydration: Squeeze all your toes together for five seconds. If they spring back you are OK. If they stay curled or curl up more you are dehydrating and need to remedy ASAP.

2) Low on electrolytes but fluids are okay.

Symptoms: Horrible cramping begins. Wham! They strike incredibly fast and are generally severe. You wind up on the ground curled up like a pretzel. Weight, urine output and color had been okay? Hint: You need electrolytes.

Solution: Immediately start replacing with S!Caps, Endurolytes, salt tablets, etc. Don’t lay there. Get up and start moving at an easy pace. In less than an hour the sodium level will balance and the cramping will subside. Yeah!

3) Too much water and electrolytes are okay.

Symptoms: The stomach begins to bloat (easy to spot as you begin to look pregnant) and urine output is normal and clear. Weight is up a few pounds and you feel a bit sluggish. Oops, I have gone to the starting line in this condition!

Solution: Correct this very common over-hydration condition by drinking less (until weight is normal). Drinking more fluids may lead to the next problem.

4) Too much water and low electrolytes.

Symptoms: The stomach looks like a water-filled balloon, there if puffiness in your extremities, your weight is way up, and at times there is excessive clear urination. You are sluggish and performance suffers because you have to stop to water the cactus every five minutes. Hint: You are super-hydrated.

Solution: Boost electrolytes and forget the fluids until your weight is normal. This may take several hours or more!

5) Too much water and high electrolytes.

Symptoms: You look and feel like the Pillsbury doughboy. Weight is much too high, the stomach is bloated and all the extremities are really swollen. Urine output is clear and sparse. You are sluggish and your performance is suffering dramatically. Hint: You are maxed out with water and sodium.

Solution: Stop fluid and electrolyte intake until you’re weight normalizes, which may take hours or days.

My trainings and mileage may not yet have reached half-marathons nor near 10k or 50k races but the advice of taking Half the mileage route is much more helpful once you attend on the flats and half in the hills. Do daily core strengthening and stretching workouts (at a fitness center) and cross train with long bike rides. (oh shoot. I hate hate doing such but I really have to get into such for maximum runners results)

Runners who intend to increase their mileage and reach through heights of distance should have this stamina and confidence boosting training regimen that may seem extreme; So, having 100 miles a week is plausible? Yes, even 120 mileage or more but It’ll take sometime not overnight.

I don’t recall Forest Gump training ever and thought through proper nutrition except for his anti-oxidant, Does that box of chocolate ring a bell?

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5 thoughts on “Hydration 101

  1. loonyrunner says:

    A very nice and informative post 😀 Be careful of having too much water with not enough electrolytes, this leads to hyponatremia, and if it becomes severe… could lead to a seizure, coma, even death. As often the case, too much of a good thing is also bad… Hope you’re sleeping better 😀

  2. sfrunner says:

    chefsy, I couldn’t agree with you more on this subject.

    Tomorrow, the 21K training run I’ll be doing has water fountains at about every 4K to 5K. I’ll be bringing the gel with me as well.

  3. Trisha says:

    I experiened #4 a few weeks ago – was going to the toilet every hour with really clear and excessive urine, I drank 1L of water in less than 3 hours, and I was just feeling blaaaah and sluggish!

    Did they say how to correct those things?

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