Pittsburgh Marathon notebook: Assess sweat rate for optimal performance

| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 11:36 p.m.

Hydration is always an issue for long-distance runners, and new runners in particular sometimes struggle with knowing how much fluid they need.

Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and co-author of several books, including “Run Your Butt Off,” says now is the time to figure out your sweat rate so you know just how much fluid you'll need to take in during the race.

So how do you determine sweat rate?

“Weigh yourself before and after long runs ... in ounces, remembering that 16 ounces equals one pound,” Bonci said. “Add to that number the number of ounces of fluid you consume during runs (which means you are going to have to measure it ahead of time so you know), and then divide by the number of hours you run.

“This will give you your hourly sweat rate so you know how much fluid you will need per hour. And it makes sense to figure it out now so you have several weeks to get used to drinking during training.”

Did you know?

Three-time U.S. 50k champion Michael Wardian will attempt to set a half-marathon treadmill world record at the marathon expo May 4. He is training to run a sub-1:10 half-marathon to beat his own record of 1:10:42 set in April 2012.

Tip of the week

How often should you replace your running shoes? Bob Shooer of Fleet Feet Sports in Bethel Park said every 400 miles.

“What happens is the midsole material is a blown substance that starts to compress, and then it just doesn't offer shock absorption or cushioning that it once did,” he said. “Alternating between two pairs is the best thing while training. If you're running four to five days a week, your feet perspire, and your shoes never really dry up before the next run. Having two or three pairs and alternating between them means it takes twice as long for the shoes to break down, and they dry out quicker. Some people use lighter-weight shoes for shorter runs or speed work and a traditional running shoe for longer distances.”

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