Health-related guidelines for long-distance running

Safety guidelines for the runners  – PEAK TO PEAK ULTRA MARATHON

Following are health-related guidelines taken from the “Criteria for holding long-distance running events” (Ministry of Health, 2013) Preparation related to water drinking should begin a day or two prior to the race. 

Preparation for races of various distances

Long-distance running (over 10 km) requires careful preparation over a period of time. As part of the training routine, the runner must become acquainted with his body and its limitations, and has to identify possible signs of distress and make sure that upon attending the race:

  1. The runner has prepared himself by appropriate training for the relevant distance he is about to run.
  2. The runner should be able to identify signals of distress that the body transmits and stop the run before collapsing.

The runner should not attempt to run a longer distance than the one he trained for. For example, a runner who trains for a 10 km race should not compete in a longer race.

Participation in half-marathon is recommended after completion of at least three 10-km races carried out within two years preceding the half-marathon. Marathon is recommended to those, who took part in at least two half-marathons carried out within two years preceding the marathon.

Rules of Conduct for Long-distance Runners

  1. It is recommended to visit your family physician before you start training. The test should also include an electrocardiogram to rule out congenital heart defects.
  2. It is recommended to consult a qualified instructor regarding training programs.
  3. It is recommended to practice with a running team trained by a coach.
  4. Each day of training missed due to illness or injury requires going back two days in your training program.
  5. If the runner suffers from an illness accompanied by fever or diarrhea during the week before the race – he should not participate in the race. In such case, the runner should seek an advice from a qualified professional before getting back to training.

General guidelines:

48 hours before the race

  • Increase the intake of carbs – pasta, rice, potatoes or bananas for better retention of fluids in the body (1 gram of glycogen stores 2.7 grams of water)
  • Add more salt to your food than usual – this will also help retain fluids in the body along with the salts that come out with sweat during the race
  • Do not drink too much coffee an alcoholic beverages, which promote dehydration
  • Drink 500 cc of water two hours before the race
    • Take a half-liter bottle of water with you and take small sips until the race begins

    During the race:

    Drink water at every station. In hot weather, make sure to pour water over your head and body and cool down using sprinklers along the route. The amount of water you drink during the race should match the amount of fluids lost with sweat, as calculated during training (see above). Do not drink more than the aforementioned amount to avoid the risk of developing hypothyroidism. Recommended drinking rate: 7 ml/kg/hour for men (about half a liter for a person weighing 70 kg) and 6/ml/kg/hour for women. Add 100-300 ml per hour according to the sweating rate and weather conditions.

After the race:

Drink water as necessary. As explained above, it is recommended to check your weight before and after the race (without clothes, since they will be soaked in sweat), in order to assess the volume of fluid lost during the race. A loss of 1 kg requires drinking 1 liter of water (do not exceed this amount!).

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