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Davis, Brett Alan
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Middle Tennessee State University
Over hydration and dehydration are common amongst recreational runners and often leading to adverse health and performance outcomes. The evaluation of hydration knowledge, sources of hydration information, and hydration practices among recreational runners can help identify optimal methods for disseminating information relative to hydration practices. Therefore, the purpose of the first study in this dissertation was to assess hydration knowledge and sources of hydration information among recreational runners of varying ability (N = 161). In the second study, the hydration practices of the runners were assessed.
Runners were separated into groups (low, moderate, or high) based on training volume, expected race performance, and running experience (VPE). Hydration knowledge was greater in the moderate VPE group (43.9 12.8) than the low (40.9 18.2) and high VPE (32.6 21.2, p = .005) groups. All runners rated advice from other runners as more important than any other source (p < .05). Advice from health professionals, scientific research articles, and internet and print articles were rated as more important (p < .05) than guidelines from sport science organizations, which were rated as more important (p < .05) than advertisements. Experiencing adverse performance and health effects as result of dehydration was reported by 80% and 58% of the runners, respectively. During races of half-marathon distance or longer 51% of runners reported using a drinking schedule; however, only 22% of runners reported using change in body weight to determine sweat rate and fluid needs. Consumption of fluids during training in the heat was reported by 71% of runners; yet, 54% of runners’ perceived inadequate fluid intake before and during exercise as the cause of dehydration leading to adverse performance and health effects. The inconvenience of carrying fluids while running and the inconvenience of scheduling fluid delivery or placing fluids along the route before the run were reported as barriers to consuming fluids during training by 60% and 50% of runners, respectively. Hydration status monitoring was reported by 68% of runners. A greater percentage of high VPE runners (83%) monitored hydration status compared to low VPE runners (58%, p = .041). Monitoring hydration status via urine color was reported by 92% of runners; however, most runners (n = 54) utilizing this method incorrectly made color judgments based on the color of urine in the toilet.
Overall, hydration knowledge was poor among the recreational runners in this study, partly due to the runners obtaining hydration advice from disreputable or obsolete sources and limited interaction with knowledgeable healthcare professionals. In addition, the recreational runners in this study exhibited poor fluid intake behaviors during training and racing, and poor implementation of techniques to determine sweat rate, fluid needs, and assess hydration status. As a result, the incidence of adverse performance and health effects stemming from dehydration was high among the sample.
Fluic replacement, Heat illness, Hydration status, Recreational runners, Running performance