April 13, 2011
For the vast majority of athletes, the easiest way to improve training and racing performance is to consume more fluids. Most athletes – and most people – are chronically dehydrated, and consider this: if you’re dehydrated going into a workout and you don’t drink like you should, there’s no way you can have a high-quality training session. Similarly, in relation to sweating and core temperature regulation, athletes adapt to be able to sweat sooner and more profusely, but your body won’t activate those enhanced cooling mechanisms unless there’s fluid available to use. And, yes…you do sweat in the pool! As the air temperature increases outside, you will sweat more. As the saying goes – “Hydrate or die!”
So how do you manage your hydration to optimize your training?
- Drink more: When you wake up, with every meal or snack, and during the evening, consume a 20-ounce glass of water, along with whatever else you’re eating and drinking.
- Aim for 20 ounces an hour during a workout. When you’re well hydrated, your muscles function better and you are able to regulate core temperature better, which mean you can produce more power. Better yet, make one of those bottles a sports drink like Gatorade - so it provides carbohydrates, electrolytes, and fluid all at once.
- Consume 150% of what you lost: Within two hours of getting out of workout, aim to consume 150% of the water weight you lost during your swim. So if you lose two pounds – 32 ounces – during your workout, you want to consume 48 ounces afterward.
- How do you figure how much you lost? Weigh yourself pre-workout and take note. Consume a known quantity of fluid during workout. Ex. a 16 oz. bottle of Gatorade. Then, weigh yourself after the workout. Subtract the post workout number from the pre-workout number, and then add in the fluid you consumed during the workout. There you have it! (the math is easier if you drink 16 or 32 oz. during the workout).