May 24, 2017

By far nutrition is one of the other key components to the sport of triathlon, along with swimming, biking and running. In particular, hydration is becoming more key during this time of year, as the weather starts to change to warmer months.  We need to think more and more about how we are going to fuel the body properly with the necessary water intake, electrolytes, and calories in our sports drinks while we are out there training.  This also goes beyond being outside training.  Hydration needs to become a daily habit in an athlete’s regimen.  Knowing how much to drink, how often, and drinking before the first signs of dehydration kick in are key to being healthy in your training.

A common question that comes up is, “How much do I need to take in?”  Of course it’s different for all athletes and best determined by doing a sweat rate test.  Measure your sweat rate by weighing yourself without clothes before exercising for one hour. After an hour of exercise, return home, strip down and weigh yourself again. Assuming you did not use the toilet or consume any fluids during exercise your weight loss is your sweat rate. For each pound lost, you lost 15.4 oz. of fluid.  If you consumed any fluids during the test, you would subtract that from your weight after the exercise.  Do this for each sport, and at different temperatures, maybe indoor and outdoor too.  You will find different variables in each environmental situation.  Once you figure out your sweat rate, you will know how much fluid you need to take in hourly.  

Now let’s add in electrolytes... You’ll want to replace lost electrolytes with 250-500mg per hour, assuming you are hydrating at a normal rate.  A good way to stay up on this is drinking a light calorie electrolyte beverage throughout the day like F2C Nutrition Hydra-Durance which consists of all electrolytes, and not just sodium.  At just 40 calories per serving, its low calorie, and great tasting for daily use, or for a few days leading into your race or long training day.  Choose a beverage like F2C that contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride.  This is also a product that can be added in addition to your sports drink used in training.  

If your urine before or after your training or race is not a light lemonade color, then you’re not taking in enough fluids. This is one of the easiest ways to track intake on a regular basis.  Start creating a daily routine of how much you should be taking in.  Then on big training days, practice perfect hydration, especially in weeks leading into your event.  If beyond this you still need help in dialing in a hydration plan consult a sports Registered Dietician like Katie Rhodes of OWN-Nutrition.