You’ve been running for miles. You haven’t had a sip nor a drop of water or fluid from your kit. Your throat is parched. Your feet are screaming and your back is aching. But you refuse to sit down, to bend over and take a few seconds to rest. In a race, even seconds count. And by the time you reach the finish line, you’re bathed in your sweat and you guzzle down enough water
to keep an army of cacti alive for days. It’s a very familiar sight.
A number of people who take up distance running as an exercise have done something like this. Sometimes, it may be because some people can’t concentrate on the running if they have to bother guzzling down water while on the run. Others simply don’t feel good drinking water while they run so they would rather do without it. For whatever reason it may be, drinking water like this may have adverse effects
on the body. One common concern is water intoxication.
This article is inconsistant. It states that hypotremia [sic; should be hyponatremia] is caused, not by an overabundance of water, as the title would lead one to believe, but by a depletion of, and subsequent imbalance of, electrolytes. Yet, nowhere in the article does it offer a solution of replenishing those electrolytes. Instead, it suggests we drink on a regular basis, even while exercising, and not guzzle water at the end.
In a race, especially a fast-paced race under 10 miles, stopping to drink will definitely lose one a few places in the standings (it's happened to me), as well as really doing little good. I mean what difference would a small Dixie cup of water make? What it's more likely to do is gag one, as they're breathing hard and all pumped up from racing. Sorry, in a race under about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs I think one is better to drink at the end. Then, take some Gatorade and water or an electrolyte pill and water, if one was sweating that much. Extreme heat, of course, is an exception.
Further, I believe, with practice one could go as long as a HM distance without drinking and without any bad effects. Longer distance, like marathons, are run at much slower paces and times on the road are very long, so drinking and eating as the race goes on is a natural thing to do.
Well, I think the key is that you need to balance water and electrolytes when you exercise. Over doing either of those can be dangerous. I run with a water bottle belt and shot bloks to keep a good balance. The water bottles make it easier to drink while I am running and I don't feel as if I am slowed at all this way. Of course, I race to finish at this point, I am by no means an expert or a fast runner so I don't know, but I do know that in helping my brother train for his first Ironman it was vital to keep him hydrated with both electrolytes and water. Just a thought.