Krista and Ken Bragg April 05, 2012 TWEET COMMENTS 2

Warning Signs - Page 4

Some experts advocate letting thirst be a guide rather than a prescribed intake regimen. Others recommend paying attention to urine color—pale or almost clear urine can equate to “hydrated” while darker urine is a signal more fluids are needed. Trail runners should test hydration plans during training in order to find the best individualized strategy for race day.

The 24 hours following a long trail run (four hours or longer) are critical for drinking water, as well as eating food and drinking fluids that contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only assist with electrolyte replacement but are rich in antioxidants to assist in much-needed tissue healing.

Athletes should weigh themselves the day following long runs or races. If you lose more than two percent of your total body weight, or note significant weight gain, consult a health professional as it may imply a lingering electrolyte imbalance or other health issue.

Preventing Rhabdomyolysis
The treatment is conveniently the prevention—hydration! Proper hydration is key as simply “more” is not always better. Weigh yourself before and after intense exercise and replace fluids accordingly. Include sodium replacement and remember that drinking small amounts frequently allows the fluid to become better utilized than large amounts of fluid infrequently. Include electrolytes and calories post exercise.

With awareness, proper training and hydration, trail runners can avoid the serious and possibly fatal consequences of exertional rhabdomyolysis. Run trails smart and train safe.

Plan for proper hydration (practice while training by determining your individual sweat rate and fluid needs).


  • Avoid abrupt increases in exercise/training intensity (increase over time instead).
  • Avoid racing or extreme training while ill with the flu or other illness.
  • Talk with your health care professional about risks of rhabdo relative to your athletic training and any medications you may be taking.
  • Make accommodations for temperature
  • and extremes. Alter hydration and nutrition as needed.
  • Pay attention to warning signs!



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