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Hydration Tips For Triathletes

Most triathletes understand that being well hydrated is important if you want to perform at your best, especially during longer races and when it’s hot.

 

What’s the big deal about hydration? The answer: Being dehydrated by as little as 2 percent of your body weight can begin to increase fatigue, reduce your athletic performance (mentally and physically), and increase your risk of heat stress. You’re also more likely to get muscle cramps during training and racing. On the other hand, when your body is well hydrated and nourished, you have the capacity to tolerate longer and more intense exercise.

What should I drink during exercise?

If you train at a moderate intensity for less than an hour, water is sufficient to maintain normal fluid balance. However, if you’re exercising vigorously, or for longer than an hour, you will benefit from a sports drink.

1. In cool conditions, or when you’ll only be sweating lightly, up to 500ml of fluid should be sufficient for most people.

2. In warmer conditions and/or when you’ll be sweating more heavily, up to 750ml might be needed.

3. In very hot or humid conditions and/or when you’ll be sweating a lot, you may find you need as much as 1 litre per hour of activity. It is worth bearing in mind that 1 litre per hour is approaching the maximum anyone can usually absorb when exercising hard, so it’s unlikely you’ll benefit from trying to take in a lot more than that, unless previous experience tells you otherwise.

Triathlon is a multi-discipline sport consisting of swimming, cycling and running

A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. Triathlon is a great sport to keep active, and by taking on the three elements of swimming, cycling and running you can keep training fun and varied too!

Tacx works closely together with Pro Teams and professional triathletes to improve and develop their bottles. According to their feedback, the bottles are optimised and features are added.

Some individuals are dehydrated prior to exercising or competing, so they’re at a disadvantage even before they start. Hot temperatures accelerate the dehydration process, so fluid requirements are higher in warmer climates. Typically, 80 percent of our water intake comes from a variety of beverages and 20 percent comes from foods such as fruits and vegetables. That’s another reason why it’s important for athletes to not skip meals.

If you find that you’re dehydrated increase your daily fluid intake using an assortment of beverages. It’s easier for your body to absorb fluid if your intake is spread throughout the day than if you try to gulp down too much at one time. Beverages to keep you well-hydrated include water (plain or flavoured), milk, juice and fruit smoothies. Certain foods can help keep you hydrated such as fruits and vegetables which are high in water content. For better absorption, it’s important that the beverage you choose is cool, as opposed to warm or room temperature. Recent research has shown that low to moderate amounts of caffeine (less than 300mg) do not cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Drinking a cup of coffee or a few soft drinks is fine, but higher amounts may have a diuretic effect (they make your body lose water). Alcohol has a sustained diuretic effect, so it is not recommended to meet hydration needs.

 

At least four hours before a triathlon or other endurance activity, drink 1 ounce of fluid for every 10 pounds of body weight (or 5-7ml/kg) to start the event well-hydrated. Don’t experiment with new beverages before or during a competition; stick with the tried and tested.

What about after exercise?

Generally you should drink 16-24 oz of fluid for every pound of weight lost during exercise (450-675ml/lb). Weigh yourself before and after several workouts to get an idea how much weight you typically lose. This will also help you adjust your fluid intake before and during workouts to prevent excessive fluid losses and maintain body water balance. If it’s a really hot day, you’re likely to lose more fluid in sweat, so adjust upward. Salty snacks or meals can help replace sodium losses in sweat.

Your muscles will recover more quickly when you take in carbohydrate (and some protein) after exercise. Carbohydrate is necessary to replace depleted muscle glycogen (fuel for energy). Carbohydrate intake of 0.5-0.7g per pound of body weight is recommended during the first 30 minutes after exercise and again every two hours for 4-6 hours to replace glycogen stores. Protein provides the amino acids necessary for muscle repair. This can be done through food or in your rehydration beverage. Focus on carbohydrate foods with some protein thrown in. Try chocolate milk or flavoured yogurt.