Time To Hydrate by Marty Gaal, CSCS

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Training Information

As spring and summer quickly approach, it is time to be more serious about hydrating during workouts and rehydrating after.

Quoted from this article on Human Kinetics online:
Fatigue toward the end of a prolonged sporting event may result as much from dehydration as from fuel substrate depletion. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990).

And another initial quote from this abstract on PubMed:
Dehydration refers both to hypohydration (dehydration induced prior to exercise) and to exercise-induced dehydration (dehydration that develops during exercise).

What does all that mean to you as endurance athletes?  It means, simply, that being dehydrated before and during endurance exercise will negatively affect your performance!  

Just a bit of dehydration prior to working out will lead to a less-than-stellar workout.  And you want every workout to count.  Any impairment to your performance could result in a variety of issues, including at a minimum a less-than-great workout, and at worst, an injury.

A few simple tips to keeping yourself hydrated as we enter the hotter part of the year:
•    Have a glass of water when you wake up
•    Have another full glass with breakfast, especially if you are a coffee or caffeinated tea drinker, as caffeine is a diuretic
•    Keep water or sports drink available to sip on during the day
•    Have some more before working out
•    Have some while working out, especially on hot days or if you are training for longer races
•    Drink another full glass or two after every training session
•    Have a full glass with every meal
•    Your urine should be clear most of the time; light yellow = mild dehydration, dark or bright yellow = severe dehydration

For busy people like yourselves, every workout counts.  Don’t let a simple thing like being dehydrated stop you from making the most of every session.

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field certified coach and co-owner of OSB Multisport

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