This is the 2nd in a series of blogs I've written about staying hydrated at the Marathon des Sables.
The first covered the science behind why hydration is so important when you're running under the hot desert sun.
This second blog will focus on practical advice for staying hydrated during the event. I've put together a hydration strategy that I think gives you the best chance of staying on top of your hydration status and putting in the performance that you're aiming for...
(Note: If you take an Advanced Sweat Test with us at the MdS Expo, you'll find it more useful to refer back to your Personalised Hydration Plan for more specific recommendations.)
The evening before each stage:
Drink a 500ml bottle of water containing 1 x PH1500 tablet.
Take this instead of plain water you’d normally have had the evening before the stage, not in addition to it.
There is no need to drink it all in one go, just sip it over 2-3 hours.
The additional sodium in the PH1500 helps your body to hold onto more of the fluid you consume meaning you pee less of it out and maximise your blood volume and hydration status for the next day. On the evenings between stages it also helps you to ensure you are fully re-hydrated and are not becoming depleted gradually over the course of the event.
The morning of each stage:
Drink another 500ml bottle of water containing 1 x PH1500 tablet.
Again, take this instead of plain water you’d normally have had before the start, not in addition to it.
Aim to finish drinking it between 45 and 60 minutes before you are due to begin.
As with taking it the night before, the additional sodium helps your body to hold onto more of the fluid you consume. It does this without lowering your blood sodium levels as can be the case if you just drink lots of plain water. This means you will pee less and have the capacity to sweat out more without sodium and fluid stores becoming depleted so quickly. Finishing drinking it in good time before you start allows your body to absorb what it can, and for you to pee out any excess before the off.
During the stages:
If you are someone who is moving relatively slowly, does not sweat a lot and you don’t really suffer with muscle cramps: take 1 x SweatSalt capsule per hour during the course of the event. Wash the capsule down with at least 2 or 3 mouthfuls of water.
If you plan on moving more quickly and think you will be sweating moderately: increase the dose to 2 capsules per hour.
If you will be running really hard and consequently sweating heavily, feel like you sweat a lot or often get muscle cramps: take up to 3 x SweatSalt capsules per hour (without exceeding 10 capsules per day).
(Again, if you take an Advanced Sweat Test with us at the MdS Expo, you'll find it more useful to refer back to your Personalised Hydration Plan for more specific recommendations. We've added recommendations for how many SweatSalt capsules to consume since you took the test...).
Best of luck with training and with the event...