Have a Drink on Me: Endurance Hydration

I have been talking on the show a lot lately about a couple of things; one (of course) is the never-ending saga of my inability to shed the weight I carry, and the next has been my issue with the second half of my racing, notably the way I feel after the bike portion of a triathlon or duathlon. Running off the bike is always a rough thing to get used to, but my issues go way beyond rough. It has been difficult to explain it to people how it feels, but suffice it to say that there is just no energy in my legs. At all. I have tried to “power through it”, thinking that if I force myself to RUN it will clear out and the body will kick in. It doesn’t work. I try very hard to get my legs moving and they Just … Won’t … Go.

In prepping for this week’s podcast (recording #33 tonight, so if you are reading this in the future and are interested in further exploration, look it up) I have been reading up on hydration (1), the effects of dehydration, and training and may be hitting on some things. The first being that I am nowhere near drinking the amount of fluid they are prescribing in the material I am reading. Not even in the ball park.

I have done in the past the normal testing to check my sweat loss, and it normally comes out to about 41.3 ounces in half an hour (actually 35 minutes). This is come to by this formula (done about two weeks ago on a 2.2 mile run):

Starting weight of 265.0 – End weight of 263.4 = loss of 1.6 pounds

1.6 pounds x 15 ounces (per pound) = 24 ounces of fluid loss + 0 fluid intake = 24 total ounces

24 ounces / 35 minutes total time (or .58) = 41 ounces

Let me reiterate …. I took in NOTHING

And this was a short training run … so I went back and looked at my last race … a duathlon …

I drank beforehand 24 ounces of water mixed with 2 scoops of UCAN … and nothing more before the race started. I drank … NOTHING during the 1 mile first leg. In T1 I took one sip of water and got on the bike. During the bike I drank 2 times from a 24 ounce bottle, so lets call that 4 ounces (Gatorade Endurance). In T2 I took one more sip, grabbed a hand held water bottle (20 ounces) and started the second run (3.1 miles). During this run I drank at each water station (about 2 ounces each time for a total of 4 ounces) and about half of the bottle I was carrying.

So, for a race that took me 2:09:32, I took in a total of ~44 ounces …

I did not weigh before and after, and was probably, according to my HR, working at a much higher level than the training run. So that means, using the training as a guide, I was under hydrated by about 148 ounces (192 ounces required [48 ounces x 4] – 44 ounces taken in).

Maybe this is the reason the run is bonking? It would make some sense, since the person I train with, Jennifer, does much better at these races and drinks all the time.

I can also use the run last Saturday as an example. I was carrying the same bottle with me and drank maybe three times in 4.5 miles. Granted I was staying in Z2 the whole way, but I have a tendency to NOT drink enough, and this may be the underlying cause.

The other issue is daily, ongoing hydration. I always thought I was drinking enough water, but according to the reading I am well under the requirement. It states that daily fluid requirements are 2.5 to 3 L a day, and to average 8 ounces each hour. Now, 8 ounces is nothing really is it? One or two gulps and it is gone, so would/should be pretty easy to handle. I do carry around water each day, or have access to it, but I am bad at actually drinking it.

So, as I said, we will be discussing this on the show tonight, and I am sure my stalwart co-host, Randy Messman, will have some valuable insight as to what might be going on.

(1) Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan