Running a marathon is extremely physically demanding and it is very easy for a runner to become dangerously dehydrated if they are not careful. Dehydration can lead to sickness, such as extreme nausea, muscle cramps, weakness and even a collapse. Many marathon runners who are not careful have this experience because of the long distances involved in long distance running. A marathon is a race of at least 26 miles (42 km). Therefore, it is imperative that they take measures to stay hydrated.
Prepare Before the Marathon
There are some strategies to avoid becoming dehydrated while running a marathon. For instance, be sure you eat something (a minimum of 300 calories) at least one hour before you start running, as food has liquid in it. You should also aim to try to drink about 16 ounces liquid before participating in the race.
You need to be sure to stay well hydrated a couple of days before the start of the marathon. Do not drink or eat right before the event, as this could make you sick. Avoid taking in caffeine or alcohol during the days before the race, especially on the morning of the race. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics which actually cause you to lose water.
You should also dress properly for the race and do not overdo it on the day. It is important to pace yourself and if you do become ill on the race, it is better to slow down and even walk or rest for a while. If you are unable to recover from the dehydration, it is better to simply stop the race, rather than risk hurting yourself further.
Carry Supplies with You
It is a good idea to carry liquid with you and you can do so by carrying a single handheld bottle that contains 20 ounces of fluid. You can also carry electrolyte tablets and drinks. There are also multiple-bottle carrying belts you can wear. The problem with carrying liquid on you is that it adds weight, but if you practice running while carrying liquid, you will at least be somewhat prepared on the day of the marathon. You could also purchase a hydration pack which you can carry on your back. These packs can often hold from about 1.5 to up to 2 liters of liquid.
The organizers of the marathon should have set up watering stations where there are people handing out water and other drinks for runners. It is obviously a good idea to have your own team who can also bring you drinks, if possible, along the route.
Stick to The Recommendations
The recommended fluid intake is 4 to 6 ounces about every 20 minutes of running. For a marathon, it is recommended that some of the fluid intake should include electrolyte solutions. This is because you will lose electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, from sweating. You should realize that on a hotter day you will sweat more and dehydrate quicker than on a cooler day. You should adjust your fluid intake accordingly and watch for signs of dehydration. Following our tips, you should be able to stay safe while running a marathon.