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When I run I sweat. . . a lot!
In fact, I once had an elderly lady at the YMCA approach me and ask, “Excuse me, um I was wondering, why do you sweat so much?”
Believe it or not this was not the only time people have noticed my well fuctioning eccrine glands.
So being a recognized expert when it comes to sweat, let me tell you how to properly hydrate to keep the body’s cooling system in excellent working order.
Our bodies are amazing machines designed to efficiently keep a stable body temperature. In fact there are 100 sweat glands on a quarter sized area of your skin. The average person has 2.6 million total sweat glands.
The hypothalamus in our brain is the area which detects changes in body temperature. Our muscles are like tiny furnaces and when the body temperature rises, the hypothalamus detects the increased temperature of the blood and the increased core temperature.
Body temperature can rise as much as three degrees during exercise causing the body’s natural cooling system to kick in to lower the temperature. Blood circulating near our skin surface pushes fluid out of our sweat glands where it cools (thermoregulation) and the evaporating fluid draws heat away from the blood vessels. The cooler blood then circulates through the body and lowers the overall temperature.
Sweating is a healthy function and necessary for life. The human body is composed of 60-75% water, therefore fluid balance is vital for keeping you functioning at optimum levels. Sweating helps regulate body temperature, cleans out pores, and releases toxins. However, problems can occur if fluid is not put back in your body.
Since sweat is made from fluid in the blood, the blood becomes thicker which makes the heart work harder to circulate blood throughout your body. If fluids are not replaced, dehydration can occur. Along with replacing water we need to replace the electrolytes lost after running.
With all this sweating that goes on while exercising, how can we make sure that we are replacing these fluids adequately?
Here are my Three Rules for Replenishing Fluids
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to replenish. By the time you feel thirsty, you may already be low on fluids.
- The best bet to accomplish adequate hydration is to drink before, during, and after your run. Let the duration, intensity, and climate conditions guide the amount.
- Don’t over-hydrate. In 2004 Runner’s World reported that 13% of runners in the Boston Marathon had hyponatremia (over-hydration)!
How to Calculate Your Fluid Needs
- Weigh nude before your run
- Run at race pace for 1 hour
- Track your fluid intake in ounces during the hour run
- Record nude weight after run and subtract it from your starting weight, convert the difference to ounces (1 pound= 16 oz)
- Determine your sweat rate by adding step #4 above to the total of fluids consumed
- To determine how much to drink every 15 minutes, divide results by the number 4 for a guideline
- Remember environmental conditions can change your fluid needs (heat or humidity)
Also Mentioned in this Episode
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Team in Training – run a marathon while raising money for a good cause
Tips for removing sweat odors from your running clothes
- Wash your running clothes sooner rather than later. Don’t let odors get embedded!
- Always wash technical fabrics in cold water. Hot water will break down the wicking ability of technical fabrics
- I recommend washing your running clothes separately and using a sports detergent like Tide Sport, Gain, Nikwax, Penguin Sport, or Win High Performace Sport.
- Never buy your running clothes second hand
- A few other tips sent in by MTA listerners are: Wash clothes with a cap full of Pine Sol, Wash in white vinegar, and use Oxyclean detergent.
So what have you found to prolong the life of your running clothes?