Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How Much Do Champion Marathoners Drink (and Sweat)?

by Alex Hutchinsen from Sweat Science

Ever wonder how much the very, very best marathoners in the world drink during marathons, and how much weight they lose to sweat? A cool new study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, from an international team led by the University of Glasgow, collects some very neat data from some really, really big names: Haile Gebrselassie, current world-record holder Patrick Makau, 2008 Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru, 2004 Olympic champion Stefano Baldini, plus other stars like Kenenisa Bekele, Marilson dos Santos, Martin Lel, Felix Limo and Evans Cheruiyot.

There are several parts to the study. In the "headline" part, they attempt to estimate total fluid consumed by the athletes above in winning major marathons (the Olympics, Berlin, Dubai, Chicago, London, Fukuoka, New York, Rotterdam) based on video footage from the races provided by the BBC. Inevitably, this is a very crude estimate, since the footage is imperfect and they have to guess the actual drinking rate. The major finding from this is that there's huge variability from person to person, and it doesn't just depend on environmental conditions. For example, Felix Limo appeared to drink far more in winning London in 2006 than Martin Lel did the following year, even though it was way hotter in 2007.


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