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Fluid Replacement and Performance During the Marathon

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The primary purpose of this review is to relate a universal strategy for replacing fluids to optimise marathon performance. A secondary purpose is to examine common ‘matters of debate’ that may modify fluid needs to include the importance of realistic convective air flow, metabolic water production and waters of association with glycogen. The metabolic demands of marathon running can result in substantial sweat losses and levels of dehydration consistent with compromised endurance performance. Recommendations are provided to individualise fluid intakes with the goal of preventing excessive dehydration (>2% body mass) as well as weight gain. The minor importance of ‘matters of debate’ to fluid replacement is also discussed.

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The authors would like to thank Daniel A. Goodman (MS), Matthew R. Ely (MS) and Sergeant Erik B. Lloyd for technical assistance in preparing this manuscript. The authors also thank Robert W. Kenefick (PhD) for reviewing this manuscript. The view, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, or decision, unless so designated by other official documentation. The authors have indicated that they have no affiliation or financial interest in any organisation(s) that may have a direct interest in the subject matter of this article.

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Correspondence to Samuel N. Cheuvront.

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Cheuvront, S.N., Montain, S.J. & Sawka, M.N. Fluid Replacement and Performance During the Marathon. Sports Med 37, 353–357 (2007).

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