Dehydration can quickly cause performance to deteriorate, but how much should we actually drink? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking 3-8 oz of water every 15 minutes during exercise. If longer than 60 minutes, make it a sports drink. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking: “wow… that’s a lot!” It is. In my opinion and experience, you can certainly do with less. Strive for a balance between not drinking and these recommendations. Now for logistics. Fluids on the bike are easy; get a bottle cage. On the run, you’ll have to try some things:
• If you’re frugal, carry some 8oz plastic water bottles
• Try a fuel belt. I find these tend to bounce at higher paces, so make sure you can return it if you don’t like it (Bonus: pockets for gels, phones, etc.)
• Try the hand-carriers. This has become my favorite. Although odd at first, I find it much more comfortable than the belt (Bonus: pockets for gels, phones, etc.)
• Using a hydration backpack is not seen too often as it tends to prevent sweat evaporation on your back, but give it a shot.
• Plant water bottles on your run course, or create loops around water fountains in the park
Bottom line: You don’t have to drink a lot – but don’t not drink. If late in a race and you’re having GI issues, even sloshing some sports drink around in your mouth and spitting out can help performance! After training/racing, be aggressive with rehydration to speed recovery!