5 Race-Day Mistakes to Avoid

DISASTER! Over-Hydration

What went wrong and how to prevent it

Hydrate Safely With Simple Strategies: While rare, hyponatremia--a condition characterized by abnormally low blood-sodium levels caused by drinking too much water--can be life threatening because it can cause brain swelling. Here's how to safely quench your thirst during and after a race.

More: What Makes a Good Sports Drink?

Tune In: "A cup of sports drink and water at each station is too much," says Dr. Maharam. Drink according to thirst, and consume only sports drinks for their electrolytes.

Down Sodium: Toss back at least two salt packets and eat salty foods after the finish. During and after a marathon, "blood gets redirected to your legs and away from the kidneys," says Dr. Maharam. "You pee out salt and maintain free water" that can increase hyponatremia risk.

Carry Electrolytes: On hot and humid runs or races, bring electrolyte pills in addition to salt packets and take two caps an hour.

Make A Plan: Following a postrace recovery plan will avert mindless behavior like drinking too much, says Eiring. Your routine should encompass nutrition and hydration requirements, a mental review of your race, and a cooldown. With practice, your recovery will become automatic.

More: 15 Hydration Facts for Athletes

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