Long-distance runners often worry about dehydration. But a survey of marathon runners suggests that some should be concerned instead about drinking too much fluid. Drinking water on a schedule instead of letting thirst prompt fluid consumption can dilute the sodium in the bloodstream to dangerous levels. This condition, known as hyponatremia, can cause symptoms such as headache, confusion, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness or cramps, loss of energy and even seizures and unconsciousness. At least a dozen runners have died of documented hyponatremia in the past several years. Instead of drinking on some predetermined schedule or overdrinking, runners may be better off drinking when they’re thirsty.
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