Curious how important triathlon hydration is? How about how much you should actually be drinking during your triathlon? This article from the Rock Star Triathlete Academy coaches at will teach you everything you need to know about triathlon hydration.
Consider the following triathlon hydration facts:
Cycling speed will decrease on average of about 2% for each 1% of body weight lost through dehydration.
* By the time you feel thirsty, you can already be at 2% body weight loss .
A 3% body weight loss means dehydration has happened.
Fluid loss can vary. It averages 34 ounces per hour (it may be 3X’s that in hot and humid weather)
* Hyponatremia, which is just as dangerous as dehydration, is a term used to describe “water intoxication” and can occur with excess water intake above 30oz of water an hour.
Acclimatized individuals, who train in hot climates, can reduce fluid loss by 50% in the heat.
As you can see it is important to make sure you triathlon hydration is properly planned. Here is how you can do it.
Take you body weight and devide it in half. So if you weight 160 your number is 80. This means you should aim to take in 80oz’s of water a day. Some nutritionist will tell you drink more but it is important to note you will take in about 20% of your fluid from the food you eat.
During a triathlon aim to take in 17-25 oz’s an hour or 2-8 oz’s every 15-20 minutes. A large water bottle is usually 20-25 OZ’s. In hotter and longer races such as half and full Ironman you can aim for 28-30 oz’s per hour all though smaller individuals will probably need less.
* Before a long exercise session, such as a multi-hour workout, race or trip to the gym, your goal should be to consume 17-25 ounces per hour for 2-3 hours leading up to event (but always taper off fluid consumption about 20 minutes before to eliminate “stomach sloshing”).
* Over 30 ounces of fluid per hour can cause water dilution in the blood, which disrupts normal cellular metabolism and physiology, often with dangerous consequences, such as swelling around the brain. High-end intake above these values should only occur during exercise in hot and humid conditions.
Here are a few other triathlon hydration tips you need to be aware of.
* To avoid taking in too much water, you can combine your triathlon hydration with doses of external water to control heat stress, such as squirting some cold water over your head, putting ice in your jersey or uniform, or using ice sponges.
* For people who tend to sweat and cramp excessively, glycerol supplementation can help maximize water storage, but this is illegal in some events so use caution!
* Cold water is absorbed more rapidly than warm water giving you a good excuse to use thermal water bottles and freeze them overnight.
* Pay attention to your urine color – pale to light yellow is optimal. If you’re still peeing dark yellow a couple hours after an event or training session, continue to re-hydrate.
It is possible to loose a pound of glycogen, fat and muscle tissue during a 3+ hour training session, so be aware of this when re hydrating or when weighing your self to see how much you have lost.
You will loose fluid in cold conditions as well so be sure to hydrate in cooler training and racing conditions as well.
No discussion of water would be complete without emphasizing that liquid compounds that are full of fructose, glucose or artificial colorings and sweeteners are not to be considered normal triathlon hydration methods, and should only be consumed when completely necessary, such as during a multi-hour training session during which calories are necessary, or when no form of pure water is handy.
Finally, whenever possible in your triathlon hydration, choose clean, filtered water, and avoid heavy consumption of water from plastic bottled sources, especially those that have been exposed to heat.
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