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over hydration
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Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
electrolyte "myth" on 01/10/2013 07:58:33 MST Print View

can you elaborate on the electrolyte "myth"?- I fully agree that over hydration is a problem in long distance events, just as under hydration can be

my personal experience is that ingesting electrolytes has aided me in long distance endeavors-I don't think the source of Na and K (and others) has to be in any particular form, it just happens that pills are lighter and smaller- so that's what I use

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Agree on 01/10/2013 08:11:53 MST Print View

Please give the highlights of the electrolyte myth. I completely eliminated all post hiking/running cramping using electrolytes. It was not a myth that I would lay down at night, jump up with a foot cramp, lay back down, jump up with leg cramp. On my thru hike I we'd electrolyte capsules and in my Malto mix all but two days. (resupply issue). Guess what, I cramped both days. May not be statistally valid for the universe but valid enough for me to keep doing what works unless there is an unknown downside that should make me reconsider.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
State of the research on 01/10/2013 08:19:44 MST Print View

I think you misunderstand a bit...I am not disagreeing that there is quite a bit of profit-centered misinformation out there. What I AM saying is that, regardless of the work of a single scientist working desperately to counteract the goliaths of the energy drink world, there is a glut of real randomized, controlled data out there. And as a scientist, that's really the only evidence that should be considered for altering best practices in medicine. That is not at all saying that other types of scientific evidence (case studies, etc) should be wholly discounted...of course not. But that type of work should be considered a starting point for further research and for pondering various theories. One of the biggest problems in medicine is the clinician who relies solely on anecdotal evidence (I've seen it! I know it!) and does not have true randomized, controlled data to back that up. Remember, we "knew" bleeding people worked, and we "saw" that leeches healed!! It made perfect sense that we should give all menopausal women hormone replacement therapy!

And not to be a science snob, but it is well known that books do not even remotely register as contributing to the scientific body of evidence. They take too long to publish (thus not terribly timely), they are not peer reviewed and anyone can publish does not have to be true. I am saying this having not read the book, but my first response is that if he has such great, profound evidence, then he should publish in a high impact journal and put his ideas out there for public discussion and argument.

I did a rather exhaustive literature search of hyponatremia and exercise-associated collapse (EAC) and found rather consistent incidences throughout the literature...usually around 2% of participants. There seem to be risk factors, including low body weight, being female and taking NSAIDs (which can alter kidney function). And yes, I absolutely include hikers in these categories; the point is that anyone who exerts himself over prolonged periods of time is at risk and needs to pay attention to hydration status. Dehydration can kill, over hydration can kill. And, as current best practice (which honestly is based on the most solidly available data right now) says, drink when you are thirsty and replace salts and potassium if you are sweating a lot. That can be in your drink, or in your snacks. Just ingest it...

I may have to get the book just to see why some of you are so, um, enthusiastic about this.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
State of MY Research on 01/10/2013 08:40:44 MST Print View

The State of Craig Wisner's Research (which is the only research I tend to worry about on certain subjects) is as follows:

I started running marathon distances back in 2008. Prior to that was a few years of distance cycling, primarily 100 and 200 mile races (with most in Death Valley and the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts). I carried tons of water and electrolytes everywhere I went, very concerned about dehydration. But when I started realizing over time that I was finishing my long runs and rides with tons of water left, I started scaling back.

I then started taking a minimal approach, drinking a good amount in the hour prior to a run and carrying very little, if any, water. This was for runs up to 15 miles. Runs of 20 miles required only a single 20 oz. bottle if temps were under 80F.

I then decided it would be wise to see where my dehydration threshold was, at least to see how I felt...Went out and ran 13 miles in 104F with zero water before, during, or after. Felt like a wreck at about 9 miles, consumed with overwhelming thirst and some weakness. Fried my brain pretty good. When I hobbled home, I was slurring a bit, definitely in early stages of heatstroke/serious dehydration (I'm an EMT, I've been trained in the signs...), my wife thought I was stupid and/or insane. Apparently my thoughts were a bit disorganized. Dangerous/dumb? Probably. I've had similar experiences since then. But I've learned my body's response and got a good sense of the physical feelings associated with dehydration and where the threshold was between simply being very thirsty and approaching a medical issue.

I found that I can push farther without water than I originally thought I could.

I still don't run with anything but water and I still don't carry or take specific electrolyte replacements for anything under 20-25 miles. Beyond that, it's just a few salty foods. Last 50K I ran I ate nothing but pretzels/salty chips at a few aid stations and drank nothing but water. Everything, including recovery, was fine. I believe I store enough salts to get by for a pretty long time without replacements (or the fear of hyponatremia).

Point is, I think one should trust one's own experiences, push it a little every now and then to see where you stand, and adjust accordingly. To pick up another person's book or follow someone else's hydration/electrolyte prescription may be a decent starting point, but ultimately, we are individuals and I believe personal experience trumps anyone else's research.

Edited by xnomanx on 01/10/2013 08:44:16 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Waterlogged on 01/10/2013 08:56:09 MST Print View

Waterlogged Part 1

Waterlogged Part 2

Edited by asandh on 01/10/2013 09:07:42 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
over hydration on 01/10/2013 09:03:57 MST Print View

I live in a state of perpetual over hydration, even when not exercising.
I'm well aware of this, I know it's not good, but I'm powerless to stop it.
I drink too much water,
I carry too much when I run,
perhaps it's the constant state of intoxicated grogginess that I crave.
a much cheaper high than booze or drugs.

Edited by asandh on 01/10/2013 09:33:45 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Thanks Art... on 01/10/2013 09:31:36 MST Print View

So really we are all saying the same thing. The author is describing (at least according to this blog post that boils it down quite nicely) exactly what the current best practices are.

You don't need to overload on fluids, you do need to replace glucose (which your brain cannot store) and for PROLONGED exertion it is a good idea to think about replacing potassium and sodium. No need to drink a gallon of Gatorade if you are slowly jogging 3 miles.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Thanks Art... on 01/10/2013 09:50:20 MST Print View

Yeah, good article

But color of urine is inconsistent with my experience

Sometimes when I haven't drunk a lot I notice my urine is dark colored. I'll drink a couple pints of water over an hour and then it's light colored.

Maybe I'm talking about moderate exercise and de-hydration and the article is talking about a higher level.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Great discussion on 01/10/2013 11:03:37 MST Print View

I found a perfect discussion of this whole topic here
I think this gets so hotly debated because we are all talking different distances, exertion levels etc. Craig actually summarized my experience perfectly. The web article I linked starts with the research that Roger referenced. It gets real interesting when you hit the blog section at the bottom. You will see that the validity of the main article goes away as you start hitting higher duration and more extreme conditions. I actually think high mileage backpackers have more in common in this area with ultra marathon runners than they do with the more typical 10 mile/day hikers. I discovered how much I let my personal bias influence what I was reading. I made a conscious effort to those aside and focus on the superficial points being made. One key one was "drink when you are thirty and eat salty foods when you get the craving. ". Sounds like Nicks approach. It gets much more interesting as the duration gets pushed out. A little more deliberate approach may be warranted.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 11:29:24 MST Print View

for me personally I find the drink when thirsty rule is a very bad one.
once I'm at that point I find it very hard to turn off the thirst feeling in my brain.

On multi hour runs I drink small amounts (one or two sips) every 15 minutes or so.
I find I actually drink less overall using this approach.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 13:07:27 MST Print View

+1 Art.

On longer endurance events (faster activities like running or cycling, not hiking) the drink when thirsty/eat when hungry thing goes out the window because my stomach will often start rejecting food/drink. This happened a lot in my cycling days when I was hitting the 10-12+ hour mark in an event.

Eating/drinking had to become a forced, timed activity. Left to my instincts and feelings, I wouldn't keep up with it because it would make me sick. But stupid-long endurance events already are so going against natural instincts/processes I suppose they're sort of an anamoly.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 14:51:31 MST Print View

What I learned from his articles was that I ,like a lot of people would confuse hydration with overheating. In other words if you are overheating drinking does very little to cool you down. You need slow down/stop rest get in the shade and pour water over your neck. Better yet take a swim in cool water. This article may be familiar to ultra runners but its good to get the message out to hikers who are not familiar with the trends in those circles and may still subscribe to the discredited advice.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 14:52:00 MST Print View

Analysis paralysis...

Not Buster Martin.

"I don't drink I don't drink any water in a marathon."

"Even before I done the marathon, I had to have a fag and a pint..."

Buster Martin- \"How to Live Forever\"

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 16:40:34 MST Print View

^ there you go :)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Agree on 01/10/2013 17:40:12 MST Print View

"Please give the highlights of the electrolyte myth. I completely eliminated all post hiking/running cramping using electrolytes."

I, too, would like to know more about the myth, for the same reason that Mike and Greg have stated. Nick, as well. Since I started using ~1/4 teaspoon of Mortons Lite Salt Replacement/liter and drinking moderately as I move, I have almost completely eliminated cramping. I say almost because even then, if I do not drink enough on really strenuous hikes, I will still cramp up after I stop. Also, when it comes to backpacking, as opposed to faster endurance events where people tend to be reluctant to stop, monitoring the color of your urine is a pretty reliable indicator of your hydration status. I would also like to reemphasize what I said in my first post, based on personal experience: When engaged in an endurance event in hot weather, it is absolutely critical to drink. I learned the hard way, and it came close to costing me my life.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
marathon on 01/10/2013 18:32:18 MST Print View

I wonder if all this disagreement, at least partially, stems from looking at a marathon vs looking at 8+ hour endeavors?

a 2.5 (I wish! :))-5 hour marathon I think would elicit a different electrolyte deficit than, for example, 12 hours of running the Grand Canyon

clearly there is danger of consuming too much water, I think everyone agrees w/ that; what dangers are there is you took a few too many salt/electrolyte pills?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: marathon on 01/10/2013 19:06:28 MST Print View

"I wonder if all this disagreement, at least partially, stems from looking at a marathon vs looking at 8+ hour endeavors?"

Ding ding ding..... I think we have a winner. It is not all that different than the hiker going ten miles in 12 hours declaring that protein is a good fuel. Now do it for it 30 or 40 miles in the same time. How would that turn out?

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Drink When Thirsty ?? on 01/10/2013 20:50:03 MST Print View

While I do not disagree with the cautions against over-hydration, "drink when thirsty" works better for some people than it does for others. I know at least two people who routinely fail to drink for long periods of time when they're focusing on work or recreational activities. (Meaning no fluids or high water content food for well over 12 hours of routine activity, or none during over 6-8 hours of backpacking or other athletic activities.) It's hard to say whether they don't get thirsty or whether they just don't notice it, but the predictable result is dehydration (by standard clinical criteria), usually mild, but real.

Bill S.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: marathon on 01/10/2013 21:04:13 MST Print View

"I wonder if all this disagreement, at least partially, stems from looking at a marathon vs looking at 8+ hour endeavors?

a 2.5 (I wish! :))-5 hour marathon I think would elicit a different electrolyte deficit than, for example, 12 hours of running the Grand Canyon"

Good point. The other variable I would consider is temperature. The combination of time on feet and temperature makes proper hydration and electrolyte intake crucial, IME. Adding intensity to the mix makes it even more crucial.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: marathon on 01/10/2013 21:23:41 MST Print View

I remember reading that Alberto Salizar lost something like almost 4 liters of water per hour during the 84 Olympics.

Also I think military tests show that a human at rest in the desert with temps at 120F will lose 5 liters per hour -- that is without using any muscles.

My experience is that the athlete will need to replenish body salts or whatever you want to call them. Same for hiking or working hard in the desert. The soldier at rest probably won't need any salts.

And of course, it is variable for each individual.