When training for, building up to and sweating it out on the day of the Triathlon, it’s important to make sure you’re always properly hydrated.
As you get hotter during exercise, your body’ll start to sweat as it strives to regulate your temperature (or keep you cool, in non-boffin speak). Obviously, the hotter the weather and the harder the workload you take on, the more you sweat. If you don’t act accordingly and replenish these lost fluids, you’ll suffer from a dip in both physical and mental performance as dehydration rears its ugly head.
Get into good habits
From the start of your training, it’s a great idea to do it with a drinks bottle handy – whether by the pool, next to your Spin bike or in your hand as you run.
For your shorter sessions, just plain-old water will do the trick. Drink little and often – and don’t wait until you’re actually thirsty. Once you’re parched, it’s a long and winding road back to hydration. As soon as you progress to training sessions of 30-45 minutes or over, introduce a sports drink into your routine. These have electrolytes and carbohydrates in them, which are great for getting your body replenished for the next session.
Even Big Bird needs proper hydration!
An everyday routine
As you go about your day-to-day business, it’s good to get into the habit of drinking plenty of water (particularly with meals). Just remember that the booze isn’t your friend; it’ll leave you dehydrated, so cut down in the months leading up to your race. For your general wellbeing, this’ll be no bad thing, either.
As your Triathlon starts to loom large on the horizon, you should have developed a good feel for your sweat rate in various conditions. This should help you begin to formulate your fluid-intake strategy. In the final days leading up to your race, it’s more important than ever to keep your fluid levels topped up, so that you reach the start line in fine fettle.
The big day
On race day, sip from a bottle of sports drink in the couple of hours before the big off. This’ll see you through the swim. Then, when back on dry land, start drinking from a bottle on your bike as soon as you leave the transition area. Depending on the length of your cycle leg, you should be fine with 1-2 bottles of sports drink (a bit more in hot weather). Once you’ve dismounted and started your run, you’ll find there are plenty of aid stations offering refreshments along the way. Sip a few mouthfuls whenever you can, making sure you don’t take on too much – overhydration can lead to stomach trouble.
When you’ve done
Remember to rehydrate after your race with more sports drink before reaching for a well-earned beer. If you get your fluids right when it counts, your celebration will be all the sweeter!