Endurance Training/Racing Risks
Although we as race directors take every precaution possible to ensure a safe and fun event for all participants, there are actions that you can take as a participant in long distance endurance events that can help ensure your safety, and keep a smile on our collective race organizing faces!
Hydration strategy: Drinking adequate amounts of water is a must on race day, and the day before. Be sure to arrive at the race fully hydrated, and be prepared to drink during the event. It is important that you drink water, but it is also important that you don’t drink TOO MUCH water. Recent research suggests that you should consume between 400 and 800 ml of water per hour of exercise. One strategy that is useful is to weight yourself before and after your long workouts. If you are maintaining your weight, or even increasing…then you are drinking too much. Keep in mind that finishing times in the 100+ km division range between 5 and 9 hours – learn how to drink by practising what you are going to do on race day.
NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (such as Advil, Motrin or Ibuprofin) are often taken by endurance racers as they feel it helps to numb some of the pain of the event. Truth is that it can have a DIRECT effect on your fluid/electrolyte balance (causing hyponatremia) – leading to nausea, headache, fatigue and in severe cases could result in a medical emergency. Additionally, NSAIDs can cause your blood pressure to increase, which can also be a problem when involved in a long distance event.
One expert says (specifically about taking NSAIDs before a marathon run – “female entrant expecting to finish in the four- or five-hour range. Women who drink the same amount of fluid per kg of body weight as men consistently lose less weight and retain more sodium during a marathon. Additionally, if you sweat heavily and your clothes cake with salt; if you have had heart disease in the past: or if you merely are an older runner, you are among those at risk for problems in endurance races. He adds to these factors anyone running in high heat and/or heavy humidity. So perhaps if a patient possesses two or three of these traits, it’s best to steer him or her away from a non-steroidal.”
Take home message: Before you compete in the Lost in the Rocks and Trees – Train! Adapt your body to the stressors that will be placed on it during the race. Additionally, practise your hydration (and eating) strategies by doing some long rides before the event. Know how much you should drink, and how much/and what you can eat!
We will have first aid on the course – but always keep in mind that much of this race course is many kilometres in the bush, and not accessible by ambulance (so thank the volunteers on the ATV’s when you pass). Of course, if you have any questions about your health and safety, please ask your doctor!