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4.3 Wall Street Journal: Ease Up on the Water During That Marathon

February 24, 2015
Ease Up on the Water During That Marathon

I found the article to be a bit "less than stellar".  It did not come across that any of these people, and many of the commenters, had every managed or coached folk.  It was all micro-managing rules without the needed information to empower the individual.

The WSJ Article on Hydration

The Wall Street Journal has an article on "latest research" about hydration during sporting events, specifically marathons.  The "experts" are noting that some people can lose more than "3% of body weight" and still not be impacted in their performance.

It proposed that the mantra change from being
     "drink! drink! drink"
to
      "drink to thirst".
to avoid hyponatremia by the unwary.

Bottom line

My key learnings about hydration include:

  1. water is used for:
    1. excreting waste, and
    2. cooling.
  2. fueling requires water but it is recycled
  3. water takes 20-45 minutes for absorption.
    (Gu is only 3-4 minutes, if the Osmotic Police don't get'ya)
  4. Cooling is temperature and condition dependent
    => so water usage is temperature dependent

Analysis and Learning Summary from the Article

While I cover the actual comments, below, the article summary is:

  1. this article was too simplistic: yes, within the narrow scopes, the results were valid, but things are much more complex than the "researchers" are saying as they jump for headlines
  2. Hydration, for extended periods, needs to match "usage", but "thirst" is only an "indicator" not a measurement.
  3. Folk do over hydrate and under hydrate all the time due to no BKM or parameter guidance
    hyponatremia - low blood electrolytes (usually too much "pure" water/usage), and
    dehydration - too little blood fluids
    really are problems
  4. Seemed to be a "hit piece" on Gatorade at the end

The Comments

Initial Comment
This article seems a bit empty and the "advice" seems a bit simplistic.

I find that water is only *used* for two purposes:
a) excreting waste, and
b) cooling.
It is mandatory for processing fuel but is recycled after an hour or so.
(not enough water with your energy gel? the "Osmotic Police" will get'ya)

The cooling is huge above 70-80 degrees, where electrolytes are also *used*!
But cooling declines to very low at 50-60 but highly variable depending on clothing, air circulation,, etc.

Too much? Too little?
Why don't these guys give some useful information, like
water consumption/need based on time and temperature?
to which there was a reply that "it was all good" and "there was useful information".
My further elaboration to the reply
Heuristics and bland "do this", "do that" are not useful for developing a routine or even experimenting to find a median, if the wrong parameters are used.

".. drink to thirst..." is pretty empty,
"thirst" on the lava fields outside of Waikoloa is difference from "thirst" while going up to Timberline Lodge on a cool day.
"do not drink at every aid station",
yeah, right, only the "pink" ones?

I find it is all about volume of "sweating" which also impact electrolytes,
if it is for more than and hour or so
Excellent reply to my second comment
James Tomlinson:
I find each person is unique. The best way is to weigh yourself for water loss before and after exercise. Record conditions and you'll get an idea.

In temps under 60F, I need about 24 oz of sports drink every 20 miles. 60-75F, 24 oz every 15 miles. Over 75, 24 oz every 10 miles. And I might consume 1500 calories over 100 miles. In the high temps, the problem is the body can only process so much liquid per hour.

Your needs will be unique to your body, weight, effort level and temperature.

Other Comments

Most of the other comments on the articles were a bit on the "shallow" side and "all about me" tone and quality.
=> A very good example of why even scanning over the comments is not worth the time since there is little evidence of any degree of useful experience or knowledge to share.


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in Mud Splats Book

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4.5  Hydration Bowel Cleansing
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4.4  NYT - Fats or Carbs?
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Mud Splats
       Chapters

1   Introduction: Mud Splats on my bike
  April 05, 2012
2   Bike Experiences
  April 08, 2013
2.1   Checked Your Tires?
    April 09, 2013
2.2   Of Tires and Rims Strips
    April 10, 2013
2.3   Gu'y Wonder Legs!
    May 17, 2013
2.4   Of Aerobars
    May 24, 2013
2.5   A Long Distance Ride
    March 14, 2017
3   Bike Technique
  February 09, 2013
3.1   Shoulder Slalom
    February 09, 2013
4   Fueling
  February 25, 2015
4.1   Carb Loading, Sarb loading!
    January 21, 2014
4.2   Fattening Up The Greedy Piglets
    June 28, 2014
4.3   WSJ - Ease Up On Water
    February 24, 2015
4.4   NYT - Fats or Carbs?
    February 25, 2015
4.5   Hydration Bowel Cleansing
    June 20, 2015
Carpe Diem: What you can envision, you can achieve!sm
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