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Effect of intravenous fluid administration on recovery after running a marathon.
  1. A A Polak,
  2. B van Linge,
  3. F L Rutten,
  4. T Stijnen
  1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


    After the Rotterdam Marathon on 21 April 1991 (ambient temperature 5.8 degrees C, relative humidity 74%, wind velocity 5 m s-1) data from 66 athletes were analysed for information concerning total recovery and recovery from pain, stiffness, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance and fatigue. The pulse rate, body weight and temperature were measured. The athletes were divided at random into two groups. Thirty-four athletes received an intravenous infusion of 2.5 l of a 2.5% glucose/0.45% NaCl solution. Thirty-two athletes received a placebo infusion of 100 ml 0.9% NaCl. Recovery took 9.2 days in the placebo group and 10.2 days in the infusion group. All athletes had pain and/or stiffness after the marathon. The immediate replacement of 2.5 l of fluid had no significant influence on the rate of total recovery, the number of days with pain or stiffness, the appetite, sleep or fatigue. On the first day after the marathon the pulse rate was increased. The rectal temperature was not affected. The athletes were also divided into fast and slow runners without regard to fluid replacement. Fast runners (those running the race in less than 2 h 55 min) needed more time to recover than slower runners and pain and/or stiffness lasted longer in the fast group. Athletes who equalled or improved their best previous results also needed more time to recover than athletes who did not, although there were no significant differences in pain and stiffness. Athletes did not benefit from immediate fluid replacement after running the 1991 Rotterdam Marathon.

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