Staying hydrated during training is key in achieving your best during competition, whatever the time of year. Understanding when and what to drink during exercise and putting into practice what you know can help you to get the most out of your training session.
Hydration is essential for an active lifestyle, especially when you’re training during the summer. 70% of our body weight is made up of water so keeping this balance during your daily life as well as during periods of more intense training is essential.
Water helps maintain normal physical and cognitive functions. When we are hydrated, we feel at our best: our muscles, heart and the brain work at optimum levels. Losing as little as 2% of your body weight through training can lead to dehydration which may have negative effects on your wellbeing, and reduce performance.
If you are dehydrated, you tend to have headaches and experience fatigue or difficulty concentrating when training. You find running more difficult: you need to put more effort in, your heart tends to beat faster and your muscles become less efficient during movement.
Water also helps maintain normal body temperature. When we are hydrated we’re better at keeping cool when you need it the most – on a hot day or during an intense running session.
Below are some tips courtesy of Official Supplier of Sports Drinks and Sports Nutrition Lucozade Sport to help you achieve your optimal hydration strategy when training and preparing for your event.
Start your training fully hydrated
Aim to consume 5-10ml of fluid per kilogram of your body weight approximately 1.5-2hrs before training or competition which will allow enough time for fluids to be absorbed.
For a 60kg runner that equates to 300 – 600ml of fluids, or 1-2 glasses.
Stay hydrated during training sessions
It’s important to listen to your body and drink to thirst. Try to avoid taking on large amounts of fluid. Drinking little and often is a much smarter way to keep hydrated during training sessions and the race.
Consider the environment you are training in. If it’s hot or/and humid, make sure you have enough fluid with you to keep yourself fully hydrated.
For more intense and longer running sessions - for example lasting 60 to 90 minutes - consider taking on a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink, such as Lucozade Sport, which will replenish electrolytes lost in sweat and re-fuel you to maintain endurance performance whilst improving hydration.
Rehydrate after to return to balance
Your rehydration strategy should be to consume 150% of the sweat lost after exercise to ensure effective post-exercise rehydration.
So what does that looks like? If a 70kg runner loses 1kg of body mass during a training session, she/he should aim to drink 1.5L fluid after training to fully rehydrate. This is equivalent to around 6 glasses of fluid.