A Proposed Solution
This argument has shown that the fluid requirement for most runners during exercise is about 500 ml/hr. Thus the key in developing the optimum replacement fluid for ingestion during exercise is to develop a drinking pattern that will provide optimum carbohydrate replacement at a gastric emptying rate of 500 ml/hr without causing gastric distress by forcing the athlete to maintain a very large gastric volume.
The proposal outlined in Exercises 4.7 shows that even an 18% carbohydrate solution ingested at a rate of 100 ml every 10 minutes in an athlete prepared to maintain a gastric volume of 400 ml would provide a gastric emptying rate in excess of 600 ml/hr. The same athlete could achieve the same results from a 7 % carbohydrate solution if he or she also ingested 100 ml every 10 minutes and maintained a gastric volume of only 200 ml. The latter is probably the more usual drinking pattern chosen by most athletes during competition.
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Thus, it is clear that many different carbohydrate concentrations ingested in different ways could provide the required fluid replacement of 500 ml/hr but would provide quite different rates of carbohydrate delivery.
The rate of carbohydrate delivery, rather than the rate of water delivery, may really be the more important factor to consider (Noakes et al, 1990b).
The ingestion of carbohydrate during prolonged exercise delays fatigue and enhances performance (Coggan & Coyle, 1987, 1988, 1989; Coyle et al, 1983, 1986a; Ivy et al, 1983; W.M. Sherman et al, 1989) probably by delaying the onset of liver glycogen depletion and therefore hypoglycemia. This has been most clearly shown in the recent studies of Coyle et al. (1986a) and Coggan and Coyle (1987, 1988, 1989).
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