Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

Article about sweaty running for you

Here’s an article titled “Myths About Running in Heat” in Running Times Magazine that I thought you’d like.  I certainly liked reading how training in the heat might help performance in cooler races.  I’ve decided to believe this wholeheartedly. (102 good training degrees here today.)  My favorite part is the message to “drink to thirst” – and how weighing yourself is not the way to figure out how much fluid  you should be drinking.

“One concern Dugas sees is that people confuse the ideas of fluid balance and volume replacement. Fluid balance is the key to maintaining performance.  I’m not sure what people think of when they think of fluid balance, but I suspect they imagine it like a scale where losses equal gains,” he says. “That’s where people need to change their thinking. Being fluid balanced means you keep that fluid concentration the same inside and outside the cells.” Drinking even half of what you sweat out during a race will accomplish this goal, a wonderful revelation for those who have suffered bloated runs for far too long.”

Other exciting news:  I had an arborist/landscaper come and take a look at our yard yesterday.  I’ll get his proposal today and I’ve got all fingers and toes crossed that it’s somewhat affordable.  Certainly our live oaks need professional help.  We have not tended to them as we should in this drought and they are all considering giving up the ghost.  After that, I really just need some help with design and some maintenance guidelines.  I’m happy to do the work.  I’ve got action if they’ve got affordable vision.

And: I’m talking with a running buddy (www.tim-runs.com) about working on this blog site a bit — so it’s more user-friendly… and wildly attractive.

Running log: 35 minutes (foot’s still happy)

Nutrition log: (um, yes, the calories are a bit low because I’m working on dropping some Guinness weight from Ireland.)

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  • http://Www.footfeathers.com Footfeathers

    Drink to thirst and you’ll be finding yourself laid out with an IV jabbed in your arm and a dnf in your record book.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      PS. I come from the “formula for water intake made me hyponatremic” experience camp.

  • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

    I’m not all that perceptive, but you seem to feel strongly about this? ;)

  • http://www.footfeathers.com footfeathers

    I suppose I feel that most people who read these magazines are aspiring to longer distances and take a lot of the advise to heart. 70 miles into a 100 a runner may not be able to determine whether s/he is thirsty. I’d be willing to bet all the money I don’t have that I could find an article in Running Times that states drinking to thirst is bad and that one needs to take in certain amounts of fluid and electrolytes at prescribed intervals. These magazines often cause more confusion than usable information.

    Having recently been severely dehydrated (Hypernatremic, actually), I’m a bit sensitive to the serious problems that occur during rugged ultras. With the increased interest in ultras and 30 mile per week road joggers looking to move into them, I’m concerned that they look at these magazines and suddenly run out the door barefoot with one gel and 12oz of water for a 4 hour run. My favorite ad on the back of many of the mags over the last year or two is a certain two-time Leadville champ and two-time Leadville dnf due to dehydration promoting SCaps. That ad alone stands in my mind of what these magazines are: money makers in the face of honest, consistent content.

    • Steve T.

      Did you read the magazine? The portion about thirst acknowledges the shifting recommends about fluids because (it’s not Running Times changing their mind), the American College of Sports Medicine revised their standards.

      It also recognizes that there are other factors…”"On a very hot day,” Dugas says, “no amount of drinking is going to change the fact that you’re going to go slower. You can drink up to 100 percent of your body mass, and it won’t keep you from running slower.”

      Finally, I am not sure ultras runners are the target of the piece (even if vice versa is true). Perhaps you might find Elitist Ultra A-hole a better magazine.

      • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

        Steve,
        I’m very interested in figuring out how much I should be drinking during a race and during training. It’s something that I’ve had trouble with (hyponatremia) in the past. I’ve read a couple of articles including a chapter in Alex Hutchinson’s (http://sweatscience.com/about/) book Cardio or Weights? that indicate that while drinking to thirst does not prevent fluid loss, it does keep someone above that 2% body mass loss that affects performance. Dr. Tim Noakes argues that it’s the perception of thirst, not the dehydration that initially slows one down — as a protective measure. The brain recognizes dropping fluid levels and “before they reach the point at which performance would be compromised – the central governor responds by initiating thirst and reducing intensity. I am not an expert, but Dr. Noakes is, and while not everyone agrees with him, I do like the idea that I might be able to rely on my body’s thirst mechanism as far as when to drink. You and others have made the good point that that might not be the case for ultras. And, certainly, what works for one person may not work for another.
        So, yes, I did read the magazine, and I really appreciate having misinterpretations pointed out – and other points of view presented. I certainly agree with the part you quoted about going slower on a hot day. (And how!) You haven’t convinced me that there wasn’t a “drink to thirst” message though. I do apologize if you felt I was trying to tell people what to do. I just thought people might be interested in reading the piece.
        I am not sure what prompted you to call me an elitist a-hole. That’s out of line. I will not print your comments in future if they are demeaning and uncharitable.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      That’s a very good point about not being able to rely on body signals 70 miles into a race. I’ve always had to rely on friends to make sure I was drinking and eating enough as the race goes on. It seems like a lot of advice doesn’t apply to the longest runs. And that’s the art of running these things. I got hyponatremic my last 100 trying to stay true to water intake guidelines — so that’s my bias and sensitivity — so I like trying “drinking to thirst” within certain parameters. Taking in a range of water over the hour depending on thirst — but always taking in a certain amount. Certainly we’re not “eating to hunger” during these things.
      Chris just sent a note saying that Steve was probably directing his unfriendliness towards your assessment of “these magazines.” Honestly I don’t read running magazines all that much, so I’m uneducated there, but I agree 100% that folks need to be prepared when they run on trails in the mountains and deserts. I’m sure you remember my rant along those lines (girl without water bottle at Bandera = crazy.)

  • Chris R.

    I have mixed feelings on this issue. I have an “off the charts” sweat rate as Liza and my other friends can attest to so I do believe in taking fluids in at regular intervals. However, I have never understood the message of “if your thirsty you are already dehydrated”. Shoot, I can prehydrate all day and within 15 minutes of a summer run in Tx I am thirsty and I get thirsty about every 5 minutes. Does that mean I am getting dehydrated every 5 minutes? Actually because I do get thirsty pretty easily (every 5-10 minutes on a Tx summer run) I find that if I take in fluid every time I feel thirsty on a run I do stay pretty well hydrated. I think the issue a lot of runners may have is they get caught up in a run and don’t drink when thirst first appears. Also your point about 70 miles into an ultra is a good one. Sometimes the thirst and hunger mechanisms aren’t working real well then.

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Hey you posted! Sweat issues finally dragged you out. :) It’s hard too because it doesn’t seem like folks are generally thirsty in the first hours of an ultra when it’s dark and cold. What we need is more people studying ultra nutrition and hydration — and paying ultra runners huge piles of money to share their practices.

  • http://gravatar.com/olgav100 olga

    I am kind of siding with the article (which I haven’t read, just what you mention). I think half is about right for heavy sweaters (to replace), more is simply too much for me – but likely should be more for those who don’t sweat as much. There was a study that the more you exercise (besides in-born rate), the higher your sweat (thus, cooling rate) is. And yes, balance is good and so are S! caps. On anything over 4 hrs for me, no matter the temps (meaning, even when it’s over 100F here, but the run only goes for less than 20 miles, I take none, and when in Oregon, I didn’t take any on sub-6hrs, but I do take them more regularly in a race).
    On another note, for heat acclimation, hell, yeah! I almost died on Sunday when ran at 2pm heat of 102F+, but next 3 days felt like freezing weather! Not really, but not bad at all:)

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Hi Olga! Of course I’m always looking for support for what I’m already doing — or failing to do — so I was a read the article with a friendly eye.
      I would have almost died Sunday, but I was only running 30 minutes.

  • Trimble

    considering I am FREEZING in San Francisco, while the rest of the US is in a heat wave… I have nothing to say about running in heat, other than that I am now officially jealous of your 102degrees.
    As for the blogsite. I have always found it wildly attractive:)

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      A visit will cure that jealousy right up. :)

  • http://www.footfeathers.com footfeathers

    Liza,
    I think articulate Steve T, was addressing me as the A-Hole. He apparently doesn’t read thoroughly before blasting away. My point was that these magazines are pointed towards the recreational runners as a main market and that they do a disservice as a source for information when presenting conflicting information. I do read them myself (I couldn’t tell you why).

    Must be a slow day on letsrun.com

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      I’d read them if I wasn’t hip deep in Charlotte’s Web and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
      And point well taken about conflicting info.

  • larry

    Got back 30 minutes ago from a 90 minute purposefully very easy trail run on one of the most challenging trails in Austin. Starting temp was 103, but it didn’t feel bad at all and the periodic breeze chilled my skin a little. Starting weight 176. Ending weight 170. I drank 2 24oz bottles of water (no sodium taken) during the run. Barely 8 miles, but, again, very easy since I have a LONG tempo run tomorrow thanks to my masochistic coach/wife.

    I’m a heavy sweater and attribute it to being 6’1″ and on the heavy side for running. Definitely not Big Chris, but it’s my experience us taller, larger dudes tend to sweat more. Heck, if I look at my running shoes in the corner of the living room I begin sweating.

    If I drank to thirst I would have to crawl up under one of those little cedar trees (check for rattlesnakes first, of course!), assume the fetal position, and fall fast asleep until the sun sets. I have to make myself drink and if I can get my stomach just barely noticebly sloshy, I tend to have my best races.

    I’ll take some of that San Francisco cold now… :)

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Thanks for the comment Larry. I hope you never have to crawl under a cedar tree and assume the fetal position.
      You big people with muscles certainly generate more heat and need to dissipate it more than us tiny weak people. I usually take in 20 – 24 ounces an hour.

  • Tom B.

    I’ll bet your live oaks have not been “drinking to thirst” & the City of San Antonio says they can only drink once a week — I think they are in much worse shape than us. Also, I was a bit distracted last night as you mentioned this & my lovely wife recently heard about an interesting recipe for suffering trees that a local plant/tree guy uses — we’ll talk;)

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      Ha! Very nice. And looking forward to hearing about that recipe.

  • http://www.seriouscaseoftheruns.com Paige

    Talk about a “hot” topic! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one…

    I haven’t read the article (and probably won’t…I can feel brain cells dying when I read RT or RW, hehe ;) ), but I definitely think there is a benefit to training hot and racing cool. Too bad it doesn’t go both ways. Training cold makes hot running (for me) a super suckfest.

    I tend towards the whole drink to thirst ‘rule’ for the most part, but I also make sure I’m draining 20oz. per hour during a mild temp day; maybe half that on winter runs; and, maybe a little more than 20oz on hot runs (again, depending on my thirst level). Listening to my stomach helps a ton (i.e. sloshy, gassy (sp?), achey) as those cues almost never fail me when it comes to determining how much water and salt I need. The later it gets in a 100M (70-80+) the more I listen only to my thirst mechanism as I find it harder to pay attention to much else at that point :) But, hey, that may all change in the next race, you never know!

    • http://lizahoward.wordpress.com lizahoward

      I use the 20oz give or take too. Winter runs aren’t very wintery here, so that doesn’t vary too much.