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The Basics of Hydration - What Should I Drink for an Endurance Event, and How Much Should I drink?

AND by drink I am not talking about booze!! I must apologize, it has been a couple of months since my last blog. I have to admit, recovering from a rear end car accident where a drunk driver hit me while she was going 40 mph, and I was at a red light, and training for and competing in my third full Ironman (Boulder 2017) are both poor excuses for not tending to my blog. How did it go you ask, it went very well, I improved upon my time since the first Boulder Ironman I did in 2015, and finished feeling strong, even in spite of my torn inter coastal rib muscles (still making my swimming a challenge).

All that aside, we are in the midst of summer, and the monsoon season has started in Albuquerque, NM. So, if you are out training in the afternoon, please be safe, be aware of thunder storms (take cover as needed), and watch those ditches, they are flowing full and the current is strong when that rain starts.

I am going to discuss some basics regarding hydration. Hydration is very important. Not enough electrolytes will cause your muscles to crash, and could also result in some stomach issues. Same with carbohydrates in your drinks, and did I mention protein in your drinks, not a fan favorite of protein during races.

In my last blog I discussed the sweat rate, the importance and how to calculate your sweat rate. The blog was titled “What… I Sweat, Since When? Calculating Your Sweat Rate”, dated April 10, 2017. Gosh and to think one week after publishing this I was in the accident. Okay back to focusing, sorry, I divert at times now. LOL!

Hydration is extremely important. The body is approximately 60% water. An athlete who is not fully hydrated is forcing his or her body to work at less than full capacity, especially during physical activity. Dehydration can occur at any time, but it is especially important and beneficial when exercising. Studies have shown that just a small amount of dehydration can have negative effects on athletic performance and may predispose them to heat illnesses. Dehydration occurs when fluid loss (via sweat, urine and through respiration) is greater than fluid intake (via drinking and food).

Optimal Carbohydrate Concentration

The optimal range is 4–8% percent carbohydrate. Concentrations lower than 4% do not provide adequate amounts of carbohydrate to maintain glucose metabolism. Concentrations higher than 8% may impede gastrointestinal (GI) emptying and cause gastrointestinal distress. If the concentration of carbohydrate is higher than 8%, water can be added to dilute it.

Calculating a Carb Percentage

To calculate the carbohydrate percentage of a sports drink divide the carbohydrate content (in grams) by the fluid volume (in milliliters) and then multiply this result by 100.

Carbohydrate content (in grams) ÷ the fluid volume (in milliliters) × 100

That is the basic of hydration. Like I said and yes based on personal experience, having a hydration plan will help you to the finish line. Even better is having this plan to support your training. Of course it is something your coach can help you with, the calculations are very basic. This race year has gone by fast, wishing you the best race of your life. Go out and conquer the world, life it too short to sit there wondering about things, just get out there and enjoy.

Richard Nevarez

Ironman Certified Coach

FE26TriCoach, LLC

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