Thursday, October 20, 2005

Marathon Runners: Drinking too much water can kill

When I read this article in NYTimes.com about the warning to marathon runners, I am reminded of this old saying "அளவுக்கு மீறினால் அமிர்தமும் விஷம்". Coming to think of it, I guess it is common sense but then again, it is the common sense things which are not in common practice.

I have recently taken to marathon running and was under the impression that I should be drinking as much water I could to keep from dehydrating. But the NYTimes article warns about drinking too much water during (and after) the run which can lead to life threatening water intoxication (hyperhydration) or hyponatremia. For the first time in its history, the participant handbook for runners in the Nov. 6 New York City Marathon recommends that runners drink no more than eight ounces of water every 20 minutes.

This warning / recommendation has come at the right time for me as I prepare for two marathons in the coming months; Singapore Marathon in December 2005 and Chennai Marathon in February 2006. Like Kiruba, my goal is also to finish under 4 hours.