Don't buy up the water supply at Costco till you read this. Hyponatremia, or water intoxication, is not common, but it can kill you. It is chiefly a problem with ultradistance runners, who may drink too much water without sufficient sodium, which can cause excess fluid to build up in the brain and lungs. Of course, too little water is a much more common sports nutrition deficiency and you should drink plenty during exercise.
As with any diet, balance is the key to a sports nutrition diet. For strenuous exercise up to an hour, just water is all right. For exercise of 1-4 hours, you should use sports nutrition drinks with electrolytes, but over 4 hours you may need to add more salt than found in most sports drinks.
Don't neglect solid foods in your sports nutrition diet. Try eating some pretzels in the last half of a long race.
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