Keeping the Glass Half Full - Page 3
Monitoring your hydration level is difficult, so understanding your hydration needs is important. Relatively frequent urination with clear to light-colored urine is a good sign. At the same time, a lack of urination for six or eight hours is not uncommon even among experienced athletes who are on top of hydration as moredate-to-intense exercise triggers a reduction in urine production. However, as exercise intensity decreases late in long ultramarathons, urination frequency often increases.
Do not rely on thirst to determine whether you need to drink. Drink according to your predeternined plan. During exercise, thirst often lags behind hydration needs, and you do not want to be playing catch up out on the course. On the other hand, if you are thirsty, you had best start drinking!
Hauling Your Hydration Source
Unlike road races, it's rare that you will be able to amply hydrate by drinking only at less frequetly encountered aid stations, which means you should carry your own fluids between them.
Carry one or two handheld water bottles, which consist of a bottle and a strap assembly that holds the bottle to your hand. If you like drinking from bottles, but prefer to free up your hands, use a waist pack that holds one or two bottles. Some runners prefer the convenience of a backpack with a hydration bladder.
Test your hydration system before race day; a pack that works for someone else may cause you severe chafing or jostle too much. While a bouncing bottle on your waist, for example, might not end your day, the annoyance can detract from your performance and your enjoyment.
The Delicate Water-Electrolyte Balance
|Hydration: HIGH||Hydration: OK||Hydration: LOW|
|Hypernatremia w Overhydration||Hypernatremia||Hypernatremia w Dehydration|
|Likelihood: Very rare||Likelihood: Rare, transitory if water available||Likelihood: Moderate|
|→Weight is up a few pounds or more||→Weight is normal||→Weight is down a few pounds or more|
→Thirst is high, and salty foods taste bad
|→Thirst is high, and salty foods taste bad||→Thirst is high and salty foods taste bad|
|→Possible mental confusion||→Mouth is not very dry||→Mouth and skin are dry|
|→Hands may be puffy||→Food acceptance is poor|
|→Shortness of breath, rapid heart rate||→Absence of urination|
|→Food acceptance is poor|
|Causes: Over consumption of salt, probably from a combination of sources||Causes: No access to water, or voluntary restriction of water intake; body electrolytes concentrated by loss of water||Causes: Restriction of water intake; body electrolytes concentrated by loss of water.|
|What to do: Stop electrolyte intake. Drink only to wet mouth until wight is normal.||What to do: Drink water to satisfy thirst, so that excess electrolytes are removed by sweating and urination. Restrict salt intake until excess is urinated and sweated out.||What to do: Get access to water and drink. Restrict electrolytes until weight is near normal|