Photo Credit: Jason Patel
Water makes up 50 – 60 percent of your body weight. It aids many of the body’s processes, including sweating to stabilize body temperature and forms 92 percent of blood plasma. It helps transport nutrients to muscle and remove wastes products such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide from them.
Q | Why hydration is important?
A | Your timing performance deteriorates when you are dehydrated so it is crucial to drink a lot of water throughout a day and at a regular intervals. Try keeping a full water bottle – tap water is fine, on your desk at work or in your car. This way you are constantly reminded to keep your levels topped up. If you like drinking caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee during the day,
remember to counteract their diuretic effect by drinking an extra glass of water.
Sports drinks are designed to help replenish your levels of water and energy during and after exercise. There are three types, each containing different proportions of water, electrolyte, and carbohydrate. It is important to consume the right drink at the right time because this will strongly affect your performance. See below for a guide to which type of drink to consume and when.
|Type of drink||glucose concentration||purpose||when best to drink|
|HYPOTONIC||2%||Quickly replaces water lost during exercise and replenishes minerals, e.g. sodium and potassium.||In hot weather and when you are sweating a lot. Can be drunk before, during, and after a workout.|
|ISOTONIC||4-6%||Replaces fluid and electrolytes lost during prolonged exercise sessions. Contains fructose or glucose, allowing the slow release of carbohydrates to maintain energy reserves.||During a workout or run. These drinks contain the same proportion of salt and water as your body™s natural fluid balance, so they help maintain your carbohydrateelectrolyte balance during exercise.|
|HYPERTONIC||10%+||Supplements your daily carbohydrate intake. Provides the muscles with fuel, and can be used as a recovery drink after a hard session.|| After exercise. Hypertonic drinks are very high in
carbohydrates and can interfere with fluid and
electrolyte absorption if drunk while exercising.
Q | How much should I drink?
A | It is vital to ensure that you are fully hydrated before a run. In order to do this, drink 3/41 3/4 pints (500ml1 liter) of water between 60 and 90 minutes before you set off This allows time for any excess fluid to be excreted from your body and avoids excess fluid sloshing about in your stomach while you are running. If you are fully hydrated and the weather is not too hot,
you may be able to leave your water bottle at home for runs of less than 2030 minutes. However, you should work out what you need during training sessions, and taking a water bottle allows you to monitor your own hydration strategy. Take three to four small sips
(avoid big gulps) from your water bottle every 10 to 15 minutes, or more frequently in hotter weather.
Q | Should I drink caffeine?
A | A caffeinated sports drink or a small cup of coffee is a legal stimulant that has been shown to improve endurance, performance, and the ability to think faster during exercise. Consuming up to 200mg of caffeine one hour before training can also help improve your interval or speed-training performance. However, do experiment with the effects of caffeine before using it in a race”it doesn™t suit everyone.