Hydration: Overview, Guidance, and a Few Tips

This is a video I made going over some of the basics of hydration, water and electrolyte loss during exercise, and strategies to deal with that loss in order to try to perform your best.

To summarize if you want to read text:

How much do we sweat?
Usually 1-2L or 2-4 lbs per hour. But anywhere from .5L to 3.5L per hour (or about 1-7 lbs.) for very elite athletes training intensely in hot weather.

How much sodium do we lose?
Usually, .5-2g per L or 250-1000mg per pound of fluid lost. On average, about 1g per L, but this differs from person to person.

How much can we drink?
Up to 2 bottles, about 1.5 L or about 45-50 oz per hour. In cool weather, .5 L or about 16 oz per hour may be plenty, but in warm weather, aim for 1.5-2 bottles per hour, or about 1-1.5 L per hour. Be sure to include 300-600 mg of sodium per bottle. Almost all drink mixes include a reasonable quantity of sodium.

Don’t overconsume just water without electrolytes in your drinks or food. Too much water and too little salt leads to sub-optimal hydration and hyponatremia in extreme cases.

Remember to keep taking water with electrolytes for hours after any long, hard training or racing session that leaves you dehydrated.

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Running as Cross-Training for Cyclists

I got into endurance sports first as a runner and then as a cyclist. I still enjoy running and find that it is an excellent workout. There are certain habits I try to keep in order to make the most of my running and hopefully lower my chance of injury. Here is a short video going over some of how I approach running as a compliment to cycling.

If you’re interested in mixing it up in the off-season, more efficient training, or just mixing it up for fun or to get into triathlon or duathlon, then please be smart about it and ease into it. Even if you’re very fit as a cyclist, it takes a little time for your legs to get used to the pounding, and you will need to develop some muscles that you don’t really use on the bike.

I’ll come up with a little more specific suggestions for how to get into running and how to progress, but for now, I hope some of this is helpful and a good starting point.

Basic Core Work for Endurance Athletes

Increasing core strength and strength endurance is one of the biggest things that you can do off the bike to improve your performance and reduce aches or pains that you may experience racing. Most world class athletes probably spend hours a week developing core strength during the off season and smart ones will continue to do maintenance work during the season. This video outlines some of what I have settled on as the basic structure of my core strength routine. I will gladly add quantity to this and extra exercises when I can, but even with a basic routine that you may do three times per week for 10-15 minutes, you can do a lot to help your cycling, running, or multi-sport efforts.

To sum it up and offer some basic suggestions, try something like the following to get started. If this is all you ever do, it will be worth it. If you build strength and want to invest more time and effort into it, by all means, go for it…

3 sets

push-ups
bent-over rows with dumbbells
front plank
front plank with alternating leg-raises
mountain-climber planks (push-up position, bring knee towards chest)
side planks
optional: pull-ups (you can get a cheap pull-up bar to install in a doorway, or if you have gym access, that works too)

Just start with what you can do, whether that’s 5 push-ups and 20s planks or more. Rest as needed to start. With time you’ll be able to do more reps and longer duration planks with less recovery between and your stability, strength, and comfort riding and running should improve notably.

If you want to add an extra level of difficulty that I really like, then you could consider getting a suspension trainer system. You can get higher levels of muscle activation with the added instability of doing planks on an exercise ball, bosu ball, or suspension trainer. TRX is the most well-known brand of suspension trainer, but you can get a more economical setup pretty cheaply that work great. At home, all I have is a pull-up bar, suspension trainer for planks, a couple sets of dumbbells for dead-lifts and lunges, an exercise ball, and a homemade box for weighted step-ups.

As always, keep things simple to start and work with your body to progress at a rate that you can handle. Make things challenging enough that it’s good training, but always keep things within the realm of what your body can handle so that you can avoid injury.