If you are a seasoned marathon runner or are planning to participate in your city's prominent marathon, there are certain points to keep in mind before you go for the run, apart from your usual workout. Experts say that you must hydrate yourself before, during and after the run or else it can lead to dehydration, fatigue and can hamper performance during the marathon.
On importance of staying hydrated Health Practitioner and Macrobiotic Nutritionist Shilpa Arora says, "it is very important to stay hydrated at all times. Water carries many essential functions like flushing out the toxins and, aiding digestion, preventing constipation and maintaining the electrolyte (sodium) balance. Starting your day with a glass of warm water cleanses the digestive system, and improves your metabolism. Drinking water helps one avoid eating and drinking extra calories in the form of other high calorie beverages too. In addition to water one can also consume coconut water, and healthy soups."
Aashish Contractor -- run and sports medicine expert who is the advisory on board with Bisleri, the official hydration partner for TATA Mumbai Marathon 2018, and Vijay Alva, Founder, Vijay Alva's Fitness Academy (VAFA), suggest some tips to keep in mind:
1. Fluids before exercise
It is important to load up on ideal quantum of fluids before workout. Your body should be in a state of 'euhydration' before exercise, which is a perfect balance of fluid in your system -- neither deficit or in excess. Sometimes, athletes tend to take excessive fluid before an event, this is a big no-no since it leads to bloating. It's ideal consume about 500 ml of fluid, 2-3 hours before the event and another 250 ml, 15 minutes before the event.
2. How much should you consume during exercise
Drink sufficient fluids to replace sweat losses. Calculate your sweat rate and drink accordingly. Do keep in mind that the sweat rate, will vary depending on the weather. However, if you do not know your sweat rate, a good rule of thumb is to consume between 0.5 - 1 litre of fluid for every hour of exercise. You could split this amount into four parts, and drink every 15 minutes.
3. What should you drink?
Needless to say, it is pf utmost importance to know the fluids that you are taking. You don't want to chug down a bevy of liquid calories in form of sugary beverages, no matter how tempting they are. For exercise lasting less than an hour, plain water is an effective fluid replacement. For exercise, lasting more than an hour, the body needs approximately 30-60 gm of carbohydrates per hour. This can be achieved by mixing it in your water, in a range of 6-8 per cent carbohydrate concentration, or could be obtained separately too.
Having a little sodium and potassium as part of your fluid replacement in longer runs (half or full marathons) is also fruitful and must be ensured. This fluid mixture could be obtained from a sports drink, or you could make your own sports drink, such as home-made lemon water, with sugar and a pinch of salt.
4. Fluids to take after exercise
Had a heart workout? Thought your job's done? Think again. After prolonged exercise, most runners tend to be in a slightly dehydrated state, so it is important to replace the fluids within two hours of exercise. Often sweat loss and urine loss continues in the recovery phase, so it is advised to consume 1.25 to 1.5 litre of fluid for every litre of sweat lost (every kg of body weight lost immediately post-exercise).
5. Take note of the quantity
Experts say that a runner should have at least 160 to 200ml of water 2 hours prior to a long run and keep having fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during the run. It is important to hydrate post the run as all the lost water from the body due to sweating needs to be made up for.
(With Inputs from IANS)