Boston Marathon runners cope with the heat

Texas Summer Running: Drink up! (But Not Too Much)

Texas summer running requires proper hydration. However, drinking too much water can cause serious consequences as well. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and planning, you can master the art of hydration.

Texas summer running poses hyponatremia risk

Boston Marathon runners cope with the heat

Credit: Boston Globe

Most runners understand that Texas summer running calls for drinking plenty of fluids. However, the dangers of hyponatremia sometimes go unrecognized. New runners may not even know about this dangerous condition.

As Runner’s World explains, hyponatremia results from overhydration. Taking in too much water too fast dilutes your blood. This causes a sodium imbalance that in extreme cases can kill you. Hyponatremia often affects slower runners and so-called “salty sweaters.” If you find your clothes and skin encrusted with salt on hot runs, this may well describe you.

If you want to get really scientific, you can do a “sweat test” to determine just how much sweat you’re losing. And the results may surprise you.

Tips for Avoiding Hyponatremia

Salt packet and salt supplementsTaking in salt during long runs may help. While¬†some experts dispute ¬†the need for salt ¬†supplementation, many runners and triathletes swear by it. Strategies for taking in salt range from the low tech–a restaurant pack of salt–to electrolyte formulas like SaltStick designed especially for athletes. This handy guide reviews several popular options.

In addition, it pays to know the warning signs of hyponatremia, such as swollen digits and a sloshing stomach. Experts also recommend drinking small amounts at a time, and never forcing yourself to drink when not thirsty.

It pays to listen to your body as well. So if you find yourself craving salty snacks after a run, by all means, indulge.

Hyponatremia is just one of the pitfalls to watch out for during Texas summer running. Dehydration poses its own set of challenges, which the next blog post in this series examines.

 

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