Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Hydration Plan

ORN: 8.3 miles, R6/W1

“Thank you” isn’t quite adequate to express my appreciation for all the input I got last week after the marathon bonk. Your input was fabulous and triggered a lot more research last week for me. Bottom line; I concluded I both dehydrated and suffered from hyponatremia. In short, I not only did not drink nearly enough fluid but I also sweated out and did not replace any of the essential electrolytes. Together, it explained not only the cramping, nausea and discomfort I felt last Saturday but also numerous other less-severe experiences in years past, both running and non-running. Interestingly, I think my base training plan worked well. I had no soreness in the three days following the race, ran again on Thursday and again this morning and felt great. The problem is hydration, not running per se.

So, I’m sticking with my marathon plan for the rest of the fall. Taking your input and other reflection, I have a new hydration/electrolyte plan, to wit:

  • Drink 30 oz of fluid per hour
  • Take in 500mg+ of sodium per hour, via fluids and food
  • Get calories via a Gu at the bottom of the hour and a quarter Peanut Butter sandwich at the top of the hour

Wes urged me to practice this plan, training my body to take in this level of fluids. Good advice. Fluids on every run, even though I don’t need them, just so I get into the rhythm of figuring out how to glug down 30 oz per hour. This is over double my previosu pace of driking. After two runs, I’ve started to get the feel for it and have sloshed much less than I thought I would. This morning, I just got to laughing about the PB. I couldn’t find any bread as I headed out, only a solitary hot dog bun in the pantry. So I smeared a generous pile of PB on the bun, cut it in half and jammed it in my fuel belt. It worked.

I won’t have a chance for any really long runs between now and the Indy Marathon on Oct 18, since we leave for Italy in two days. So, that will be a test run for how well this plan works. Nothing new on race day?? Well, I’ll push that axiom a bit. I’m hoping to get at least one 10-15 mile run done in Italy, have even found a really cool place where it might happen, but all that will depend on how our sight-seeing plans go. Yet, I understand most of Italy stays up late and starts slow in the morning, whick I hope will prove a perfect situation for a long run at sunrise some day.

I don’t think I’ll have much, if any, on-line contact for the next two weeks, so don’t take it personally if I don't comment. I’ll post links to pix, plus a trip report when I get back. Till then, thanks again, so very, very much, for all your advice. I’m really grateful.

And persevere…this means a lot to several of you, my prayers are with you.


Darrell said...

I know that amount of fluid is recommended but I already spend enough time in the portajohn. But if you can lose less time due to the bonk than that lost in the john, you'll be way ahead of the game.

I think you'll find the Italy runs on a different time frame than our hectic pace in the US. Enjoy and safe travels.

Wes said...

If you are sweating a lot, you won't need to go to the port-a-john :-) Even if your run is an hour, you can practice. If you REALLY want to dial in your hydration, determine your sweat rate. Weigh yourself naked before and after you run, and keep a record of how often you urinate and roughly how much. That will help you determine exactly how much fluids you should take in. You can do this on EVERY run.

Have a great trip to Italy!!

Journey to a Centum said...

It's funny but I always go on my runs with a water bottle now. Even on the 3-5 mile jaunts. I've developed the habit of taking a few sips every now and then and seem to become very thirsty if I don't pack along some water. I'll call it a well developed good habit.

I don't know about the peanut butter sandwich during a marathon but I guess as long as you have some water to wash it down it will give you the protein, carbs, and full feeling, you are looking for.

Enjoy Italy!

Jodi said...

Good lord, whose idea was the peanut butter? You are asking for trouble putting fat in your belly when you're running at high intensity. And 30 ounces is huge. But you know what, if it works for you, go with it.


David said...

You need easy digestibles. PB sounds wrong to me. I like it 3-4 hours before the race but not during.
And if you're having to stop to pee three times, you're over-hydrated.
My $0.02.
Just practice whatever you choose to do.

Backofpack said...

Ultra runners eat pb all the time, and I do too. It works fine. If you don't have bread, another nice alternative is to slap it on a whole grain tortilla, roll it up and cut into chunks. Yummy! Eric took a burrito with him on last weekend's long run. I'm taking trail mix at Leavenworth - that's my something new on race day.

Have fun in Italy - can't wait to read all about it!

Bob A said...

Sounds like you had worse trouble in your marathon than I did in my half on the same weekend. I simply ran out of gas after mile 7 and I think, now, that it was the high humidity (98%, even though the temperature was only 68°) and under-hydration (I actually drank very little during the first 7 miles). I had hoped to run the whole thing but was down to no better than a 1:1 r:w ratio by the end.

Wes gave some good advice -- base your fluid intake on how much you lose. That makes it a bit more difficult to know how much to intake on a given run. But, if you drink a lot more than you need, you'll end up with the hyponatremia problem caused by diluting your blood (Wikipedia says that 13% of marathoners in a recent Boston Marathon were hyponatremic, 0.6% of them life-threatenly so).