It would appear that most of Europe and the US are experiencing very high temperatures and humidity levels at the moment, weather which is energy sapping at best, but downright dangerous at worst. This is particularly so for runners, for whom access to fluids or respite from heat can be hard to come by, especially on a long run.
Most runners know that staying hydrated is key when exercising. The body sweats water to aid in cooling in order to maintain body temperature. If you become dehydrated, this cooling effect is minimised, or can even stop, which puts you into real danger. Taking in too little water risks the dangerous effects of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should chug pints, gallons, bathtubs of water before running on hot days. With everything, too much of a good thing is always a bad idea. Too much water and you run the risk of hyponatraemia, an extremely dangerous condition whereby excessive water intake causes an imbalance in electrolyte levels, due to dilution of the blood and corresponding lowering of sodium levels. Some common symptoms of hyponatraemia include nausea and vomiting, confusion, fatigue, muscle weakness, spasms and cramps, however extremely low sodium levels can cause seizures or coma.
In light of this, it was timely when the other week Runners World released some advice, busting 8 of the most popular ‘myths’ about hydration, which I have paraphrased below. Please do read their full article for the full information. Read the rest of this entry