Triathletes and marathon runners are known to push their body to its physical limits competing for long hours and most often under the heat of the sun. For these athletes heat stroke is their number one nemesis, therefore, effective hydration plays an important role in their performance and most importantly their recovery. Why? Read on to find out more.
To know why heat-related illnesses occur during endurance races, here’s a good explanation:
“When an athlete exercises, the body’s temperature is elevated and the body sweats to cool itself down. During this process, body fluid, as well as critical electrolytes, are lost. If the body isn’t replenished with fluids and electrolytes, dehydration may occur and increase the risk of a heat illness such as heat stroke.
Some symptoms include:
- Dark colored urine
- Dry mouth
If heat illness progresses, more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, body temperature increasing to dangerous levels, muscle cramps, nausea, and tingling of the limbs—and even death—may occur.”
Sports drinks are readily available during these events but can offer only temporary relief. This is why IV hydration makes the difference. In an article by Runner’s World, they quoted Dr. Benjamin Wilks, an emergency medical physician, regarding oral hydration:
“When it comes to recovery, the faster an athlete can rehydrate, the better. Muscle recovery is delayed if you’re dehydrated. Replenishing fluids after a tough effort can be tricky, however. During hard workouts or races, blood flow to the stomach is redirected to the muscles. This reduction in blood flow to the stomach results in a decrease in the ability to digest and absorb nutrients. That’s one reason why, when runners chug a sports drink right after a race, they sometimes throw it right back up.
If the drink does stay down, only 50 to 60 percent of its vitamins and minerals are absorbed by the cells, nerves, and muscles that need them.
Because IVs bypass the GI tract, rehydration can happen at a faster rate without the risk of vomiting, and all of the nutrients in the drip are placed directly into the bloodstream.”
So why IV therapy for athletes? A San Francisco Wellness Center offers this explanation:
“The specialty of sports medicine has long recognized the benefits that IV therapy can bring. The main objectives of sports medicine are to enhance athletic performance and as quickly as possible repair the damage from training and injury. IV nutrients have been shown to be supportive for both of these main goals.”
Many may still be skeptic about the efficacy of IV hydration, but here are two endurance athletes who have benefited from IV hydration as part of their post-race recovery treatment regimen:
Mark Wolcott, 47 years old – Runner
“I wasn’t expecting to feel as good as I did,” said Wolcott, who said he felt alert rather than worn out during his 2-hour drive home from Denver. “Usually after a race, I don’t want to be bothered by anybody. [After the drip,] I felt happier and more energetic. That night when I went to bed, I had no pain.”
Jason Greenlees, 42 years old – Triathlete
“I’m a data junkie. I study my data on my workouts longer than my workout itself. I train three weeks hard, one week easy. Hard means 20 hours a week, a six-hour ride one day, a three-hour run the next. Before I started to do the IV treatment, my power numbers (watts burned on the bike, for instance) would go into a funk through the intense periods. The IV makes me recover faster and I can keep putting up higher power numbers consistently. You can see the cold, hard results on paper. And you feel them.”
An intravenous infusion of vitamins and minerals is the best way to achieve hydration. It helps your body recover quickly so you can get back on track and achieve peak performance in your next endurance race. If you find this article helpful, share it with your triathlete and marathon runner friends!
You can also contact , ND, for more information about IV hydration and other types of vitamin iv therapies offered at the Dr. Amauri Wellness Centre.