This latest article for ‘coaching corner’ comes from our very own nutrition expert Niamh Devlin:
Much has been written on the subject of hydration and its importance for athletes, yet many runners continue to overlook this part of their training. Now that the sun is beginning to shine, the need to replace sweat losses is more important than ever.
The major difficulty about maintaining a healthy fluid balance is that thirst is a symptom of dehydration, and hence by this stage your sporting performance could already be affected. Fluid loss through sweat of as little as 2% of total body weight can be associated with a rise in core temperature leading to a drop in blood volume. This is turn will put the heart under pressure to transport blood around the body which inevitably will lead to impaired running performance. Other signs and symptoms associated with dehydration are headache, weakness, fatigue, dizziness and muscle cramps. Saying all this, beware – the answer is not to over hydrate!!!!
But how do we know how much to drink?
One approach is to record body weight pre and post exercise – with every pound lost (0.45kg) representing 1 pint (0.5 litre) of fluid loss. Although daily weighing is not practical, it may be useful on a short term basis to get an understanding of your body’s fluid requirements. Other indicators of dehydration include: dark yellow, strong smelling urine, decreased frequency of urination, rapid resting heart rate and prolonged muscle soreness.
What’s best to drink?
Water is an ideal fluid to replace fluid losses, although sports drinks or other flavoured drinks may promote drinking to provide quicker hydration. Athletes who identify themselves as ‘salty sweaters’ may also benefit from sports drinks, which in addition to replacing fluid losses, help to replace electrolyte losses for more effective rehydration.
So fuel up this summer to give yourself every possible chance of arriving at the start line properly hydrated, and more importantly arriving at the finish line with a new pb!!