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INDIVIDUALIZED HYDRATION PLANS FOR ULTRADISTANCE ENDURANCE ATHLETES

Corcoran, Michael Ph.D.; Ayotte, David Jr M.S., CSCS, CPT, USATF

doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000490
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  • Although thirst is generally a good guide, athletes who engage in ultraendurance events may benefit from an individualized hydration plan. The longer the event duration, the more this benefit may manifest itself.
  • An individualized hydration plan requires a knowledge of one’s sweat rate under a given condition as well as the sweat sodium composition.
  • Sweat rates and sodium sweat concentration can vary dramatically from person to person. Most commercial sports drinks may not provide enough salt for your needs.
  • All hydration plans require some element of intelligent trial and error to find the right approach for you. Always practice with a plan before you compete, preferably on days with conditions similar to those in which you will be racing.

Michael Corcoran, Ph.D.,is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Nutrition at Merrimack College, North Andover, MA. His research focuses on methods to promote optimal nutrition and hydration strategies for both ultradistance endurance athletes and collegiate athletes. Outside of sports nutrition, Dr. Corcoran also is interested in the dose–response relationship between functional strength training and physical function for mobility-limited older adults.

David Ayotte, Jr., M.S., CSCS, CPT, USATF,is the head coach for the men’s and women’s cross-country, indoor, and outdoor track and field teams at Trinity High School in Manchester, NH. His interests lie in applying evidence-based nutrition and hydration strategies to optimize the performance of those athletes whom he coaches and trains. Mr. Ayotte works with athletes of all levels and abilities, from the individual training for his or her first 5-km foot race to the elite, Division I prospect.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest and do not have any financial disclosures.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine.