MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Marathon runners are at a higher risk for illness related to hydration, according to Loyola University Health System (LUHS) sports medicine experts. In an effort to protect Chicago Marathon participants this weekend, specialists are available to offer tips for proper hydration.
*Drinking too little water can lead to dehydration while drinking too much water can dilute sodium levels in the blood. This can cause a rare, but potentially life-threatening condition called Exercise Associated Hyponatremia (EAH). **Symptoms associated with EAH are nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, dizziness, and in severe cases, seizures, unconsciousness or death.
*Hydration recommendations vary based on age, body size and environmental conditions. However, the goal of the endurance athlete should be to start the event well hydrated and to replace fluids during the marathon to prevent dehydration. **Four hours prior to a marathon, runners should drink about six mL of water or sports drink (an average water bottle contains 500 mL). **Two hours prior to the event, if a runner has not urinated or if the urine is dark in color, the athlete should drink four mL of fluids. **During a marathon, participants should consume 400 â 800 mL of fluids per hour with the heavier and faster runners drinking on the higher end of the spectrum.
*Tips to measure hydration status include evaluating level of thirst, weighing yourself before and after the race to determine if you have gained or lost weight and assessing urine color, which should be clear.