ATC 254: Tips To Avoid Going Into The Marathon Over-Cooked, Hyponatremia Symptoms and Risks, Setting Sights on a BQ, and More

February 16, 2018


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On this episode of Ask The Coaches:

  • BQ or bust! With a history of a 3:15 marathon, followed by a couple injury-laden years, how to get back on track for a BQ and/or sub-3 marathon?
    • Is MAF training for the marathon the safest route to avoid re-injury?
    • What kind of timeline for an aggressive marathon goal if MAF pace is in the 9:00s? 
    • Don’t do too much lifting if the goal is fast marathoning.
  • Last-minute 50k training tips
    • Coming off a marathon PR, what are the most important things to focus on for a hilly 50k that’s in 7 weeks?
  • Hyponatremia issues?
    • Triathlete suffering immensely in the heat and even wound up in the hospital after an Ironman with severely low sodium, swelling and feeling disoriented. What was this?
    • Would taking more sodium be the solution or does it go deeper than that?
    • Perhaps it’s an underlying health issue (usually subclinical) causing an imbalance (e.g. HPA axis dysfunction).
    • What Phil Maffetone and Tim Noakes had to say on the matter in an EP episode
    • Root cause could be hormonal imbalances or changes that affect the adrenal glands. The adrenals normally produce hormones that help maintain your body’s balance of electrolytes (including sodium, potassium and water).
    • Too high levels of ADH (kidneys). Even small amounts causes water retention—brain dysfunction is symptom. Response to dehydration? Much more to secretion than we understand.
    • Research: Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia
      • “Other studies also have shown that the consumption of a carbohydrate/electrolyte-containing sports drink does not protect against the development of hyponatremia (3538).”
      • Women more at risk
      • NSAIDs increase risk
      • The development of hyponatremia reflects either defects in hormonal and renal control mechanisms or water ingestion that overwhelms them.
      • “Currently, there is insufficient evidence to support the suggestion that ingestion of sodium prevents or decreases the risk for EAH; neither is there any evidence that consumption of sports drinks (electrolyte-containing hypotonic fluids) can prevent the development of EAH (1,3538,42,100,101).”
  • Recently retired from triathlon and am moving into ultrarunning and fastpacking, but finding it hard to train in an area that doesn’t get a lot of daylight hours for half the year (Atlin, British Columbia).
    • Getting creative with training: figuring out routes that work, treadmill, involving the community to start a gym, etc.
  • Close to marathon goal of 2:50 but not quite (got a 2:58). Debriefing and trying to figure out what happened to learn for the next one.
    • How running your long runs too hard and too close together can destroy your race day performance.
    • How to schedule long runs at an intensity that won’t hinder race day performance.
    • Taking in UCAN and Precision Hydration as choice of fuel – probably an awesome choice!
    • Looking ahead: How to plan training and races differently to get closer to the A goal – go back to a MAF base period first before adding speed and marathon pace work?

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