Proper hydration and drinking water is important for proper digestion and healthy skin but it is also essential to sports performance. Dehydration is a real threat to your performance on race day as little as 2% dehydration can affect your athletic performance by 10-15%. That means it can affect you setting a new record for yourself, losing stamina and finishing your race strong and happy.
How much you need to drink during a race to minimize dehydration depends on your body size and pace, the heat and humidity, and your sweat rate. The problem is people typically end up doing one of two things:
1. Don’t drink enough or at all which can lead to dehydration
2. Drinking too much which can lead to something just as dangerous called hyonatremia, which is when your body has too much water floating around so your electrolytes can’t function how they need to.
So how do you hydrate properly?
The maximum amount you should drink during your race is no more than the amount that your stomach can empty out easily or the amount of sweat your body has loss, whichever one is less. So that is about 8-16oz of fluid per hour of activity.
But how the heck to you know how much that is?
1. Your stomach shouldn’t feel so full it feels like a swimming pool
2. You shouldn’t feel like your mouth has turned into a desert
3. Sipping is your best policy, chugging back water is more likely to cause you to want to run to the bathroom and make your stomach feel like a swimming pool.
Although drinking water is the cornerstone to staying hydrated H2O doesn’t keep our bodies hydrated all on its own. The other players in the hydration game are electrolytes – Potassium and Sodium are the minerals that helps our body to pull water into our cells and pull it out. Not only do electrolytes help to properly balance liquids in your body but they are also essential to proper muscle function.
The problem is when we think of electrolytes a lot of people turn towards commercial sports drinks, which tend to be high in corn syrup, food colourings, preservatives, chemicals and flavourings and colour stabilizers. There are better options out there as electrolytes are naturally occurring in our foods, which means you can make your own electrolyte beverage with 5 simple ingredients, it tastes great and saves you from all the chemicals and preservatives that come in the commercial beverages.
¼ cup fresh squeezed Lime Juice
¼ cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Honey
1/8 tsp Himalayan Rock Salt
2 cups Filtered Water
1. Place all ingredients in a large sealable container and shake until well combined.