Today I’m climbing on my water cooler to preach about hydration…
I tend to badger everyone around me to always “drink, drink, drink.” I must sound like a frat guy playing quarters. The stakes however, if you lose this drinking game are much, much higher.
Now that summer is here and it’s hot as hell, maintaining hydration is one of the most vital aspects of training. Sometimes it’s hard to remember just how important fluid balance is to both health and performance. It’s even harder to know HOW much to take in and WHEN to take it.
Water accounts for 45-75% of body mass, depending on body composition. Men and elite athletes tend to have higher body water content because they typically have a lower percentage of body fat. We need an adequate intake of fluid to keep the body topped off with enough water for physical and mental performance as well as to maintain daily health and wellness.
The amount of fluid needed during training varies from person to person and will depend on how much is actually lost.
However, the goal is always the same: To replace AT LEAST 80% of the fluids depleted during training or racing. If this is not accomplished, then a hydration deficit will be created that is almost near impossible to gain control over without several days of rest and constant fluid monitoring.
Now, it’s very important to remember, especially right now while heat and humidity are high, that training while dehydrated causes the body’s temperature to rise rapidly. This is not only damn uncomfortable, but can also lead to heat stroke before you can get to the next aid station. It’s playing with fire and it’s dangerous. Pay attention to your fluids!!
During light exercise in mild environments sweating rates might be as little as 100ml per hour yet during vigorous exercise in hot environments; some individuals are capable of sweating at over 3 liters per hour. That is a 2 liter+ of Diet Coke …just so you get the picture 😉 How ’bout them apples??!!
Doing too much of anything good or bad can throw your body off. Avoid over hydrating in training or in the days before the race. Don’t try to cram a week’s worth of fluid in the night before a race. This will turn out bad, very bad! If you dilute your electrolyte levels it can cause a whole separate set of problems known as hyponytremia. This can lead to muscle cramping, nausea or in severe cases coma.
Remember, balance is the key….along with your drink of choice!
Ride Happy, My Friends!