Training and racing in the hot summer weather comes with added challenges, particularly when it comes to nutrition and hydration. Here are some practical tips to fuel your performance this summer:
- Hydration is key; keeping your body hydrated helps to regulate your core temperature and can improve endurance by delaying fatigue. Stay on top of your daily fluid aims by drinking 2 litres plus evenly through out the day to ensure you start your exercise sessions well hydrated. Remember to start drinking early and frequently in your exercise session, once thirst has kicked in you are already on the road to dehydration.
- Cool your hydration; keeping your core temperature low delays fatigue and helps endurance, so hydration acts as the perfect cooling machine. Depending on outside temps, make your hydration as per normal and fill your bottles with ice or for a scorcher of a day, freeze your bottles. Why not try electrolyte ice-blocks for recovery!
- Start cold; take a cold dip or shower before your training session or race to help keep cooler for longer.
- Train your body to tolerate higher volumes of fluids, to meet summer hydration requirements; this can be especially helpful for levelling up race day performances and preventing dehydration, especially in hot summer conditions. Use training sessions to start small and gradually build up the volume and frequency of drinking.
- Use weight loss to help calculate recovery hydration; as a guide, weigh yourself before and after your session, then drink 1.5 times the weight lost. So 1kg of weight loss equates to 1.5 litres of fluid. Use electrolytes to help replace those lost in sweat and aid fluid absorption.
- Replace electrolytes; higher sweat rates can mean additional loss of electrolytes which must be replaced to sustain endurance performance. Increase your hourly intake of your sports drink and add in additional Electrolyte Capsules if cramp is an issue for you.
Remember it is essential to stay hydrated on a daily basis, but if you're planning to participate in endurance exercise, be aware that relying solely on water can put you at risk of hyponatremia, a condition characterised by low levels of sodium in the bloodstream. To avoid this, make sure to also replenish your electrolyte levels while drinking water during endurance exercise.