So You're Running Your First Marathon Part 2
After you've finished your run, drink some electrolyte drink first to replace the water and electrolytes, then you can try other drinks and start eating; it is very important to replace the depleted reserves of water, electrolytes and glycogen right away to recover quickly and avoid sore, stiff muscles the next day. Some studies have shown that, after you've rehydrated and replaced some glycogen, eating a small amount of protein may also help the muscles and enzyme systems to recover. *A "balanced electrolyte drink" should contain more potassium than sodium, preferably 80-120 mg potassium and 60-80 mg sodium per8 oz. It should contain no more than 5% sugar (12 gm/8 oz.) and, for most rapid absorption, the sugar should be glucose. More sodium causes you to lose potassium reserves with the excess sodium and retains fluids in the tissues rather than in muscles and circulation. Other sugars and carbohydrates must be digested in the small intestine before being absorbed and higher concentrations also pull fluids from the muscles into the stomach and intestines, the opposite of what you need.Currently, the only drink on the market that meets these criteria is Vitalyte electrolyte replacement drink; you'll appreciate the light,refreshing flavor, how smoothly it goes down and that you don't feel it sitting in your stomach. If Vitalyte isn't being provided during your race, you can have friends and teammates give it to you on the course or carry some in small packets or bottles and add water to make it the proper strength to drink during the race.** Marathoners and hikers on long treks in dehydrating conditions have suffered severe electrolyte losses after drinking only plain water to keep hydrated. Rob de Castella, the best marathoner in the world at the time, finished poorly in the 1988 Olympic Marathon and collapsed in the Rome World Marathon Championships; each time he had pre-hydrated with almost a gallon of water the day before and flushed out so much of his electrolytes that, in Rome, he needed 4 liters of IV saline to save his life. In the 2000 Chicago Marathon a woman who had pre-hydrated in much the same way collapsed during the race and died from the electrolyte losses ("hyponatremia"). Since then, two more women have suffered the same fate, one in the Boston Marathon and another in the Marine Corps Marathon.Rob discussed his problems with me after his Rome collapse and used Vitalyte (which I sent to him) before and during his next race, the Tokyo Marathon, finishing second and feeling fine, much better than he expected considering his training at the time.Have a great run!