Medical Corner 3: More tips

Dehydration

Last year dehydration was a big problem causing a lot of nausea 1.5 litres of water is available before the first stage and another 1.5 litres at each of the check-points with an unlimited amount at camp.

You will not be able to replace the fluid deficit safely when you reach the camp as you also need to refuel. Therefore, drink often. You will need to take in approximately 5 to 7 litres a day.

Pay attention to electrolytes and liquid calories during the race. Salt is available at every Check point. DO NOT NEGLECT THE SALT. Roughly speaking you will need one every ½ to 1 hour.

Nutrition

On this Ultra-marathon, you are allowed a minimum of 2200 calories a day but you will be putting out 4-5000 calories a day so with this type of event there will always be a negative balance. When running unsupported this means you are trading off the number of calories against the weight of the food. Weight is a major consideration when you must carry it. Also keep in mind your total weight allowance at the start of the race is only 16kg.

I recommend you take lots of different flavours and textures of food because it will get harder to eat in the later stages of the race.

There are lots of different sites on preparing for this so do your research. The best I have seen is the blog by Elisabet Barnes. She not only gives advice on what food but also how to package it.

Roughly speaking you need protein, fats and calories. You should have 15% protein, 30% fats and 55% carbs with the carbs evenly split between fast carbs and slow carbs.

Chaffing

Vaseline is available at each of the check points but please bring your own favourite. Also Fixomull is excellent over the shoulders and across the lower back where your backpack rubs. I recommend you bring some Fixomull

Heat Related Illnesses

The spectrum of this ranges from heat rash, through sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Exertional Heat Stroke has a death rate approaching 10%. Some medical conditions and medications increase the risk so please disclose these.

This is recognised by fast weak pulse, heavy sweating, cold pale and clammy skin, Nausea or Vomiting. Muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches or fainting. If the body temperature continues to rise you can get confusion and loss of consciousness. These are serious and you must stop, seek shelter, remove clothes or loosen them, apply cool water to skin.

GET HELP

Sunburn

The sun in New Zealand is very strong and it usually only takes 10-15 minutes to burn. Out in the open there is no cover so it is vital that this is applied often. Suncream is available at all the checkpoints but you must bring your own also. Please do not underestimate the danger of sunburn. I recommend suncreams with at least an SPF of 30 but 50 is better.