The Key to Winter Training Hydration
As the weather becomes colder on the thermometer, it starts to become more onerous for athletes to keep training. It doesn’t matter whether it’s just a training run, turbo session, or a swim session, you need to pay attention to how well you hydrate.
The irony of winter training is that we put so much thought into hydration in the summer as we perceive it to be a bigger problem, when really the reverse is the case.
With every bit of cold air you take in, you will be losing your body fluids both inside and outside, as at this time of the year sweat evaporates faster than average.
The worst of it all is that even though you are losing more fluids than usual, your thirst response will not be triggered. Your body won’t notify you that it needs to replace the fluids lost because of your sweat evaporating faster than average during winter.
Unlike when training in a warmer temperature, your sweating rate may be disrupted. Usually, a problem encountered by every athlete is that they all sweat a lot. This is a mechanism to let you know you are losing a lot more fluids than the human body is meant to shed.
The important thing is to not neglect hydration in the winter, especially if large amounts of your training is done indoors or in cold, dry conditions where fluid loss can be surprisingly high.
What do you do now to suppress the effects of the high rate of hidden dehydration during winter?
Prepare Ahead, Not Just During or Before The Training Session
To perform at your best and recover quickly when working out in the winter, you need to have a workable plan. Your plan should include not just replenishing your body fluids during the training or just a few minutes before workout, but way in advance of throwing your trainers on or climbing on the turbo.
Work on your hydration status a few hours before your workout by sipping 500 – 750ml (16 - 25oz) of a hydro drink (electrolytes), so that your body has time to process and absorb what it needs and eliminate any excess. Remember, any fluid you consume in the 45 minutes before your session will sit in your stomach and hinder your productivity.
You Are Not Just Losing Fluids, But Your Electrolytes.
As much as you know you cannot neglect your fluid intake in the winter, you should also be aware that you are losing beyond your body fluids.
Your body is fast depleting on electrolyte just as it is during the summer. Because it’s winter and you are sweating below the usual rate, it does not mean you aren’t burning electrolyte.
This is why we consider dehydration as not the only problem during winter but more importantly, electrolyte loss. There’s no better way to get the electrolyte your body needs back, than using Base Electrolyte Salt.
The biggest feature of Base Performance salt is how it is absorbed; under the tongue (sublingual). When you use the vial of salt and lick the salt off your thumb, it gets into your bloodstream in about 30 seconds, as opposed to an hour with a salt tab.
Keeping your stomach out of the equation allows you to minimise the GI stress. This is true for the bike because of the aero position and constriction, as well as the run because your heart rate is typically getting higher as the day goes on in a triathlon (lower heart rate in the swim, middle heart rate on the bike, and higher heart rate on the run).
With Base Electrolyte Salt, it is also easier to regulate the amount of salt you take in (the salt tab is all or nothing, and all at once - lots of salt in one go for your body to deal with). We recommend salt every 15 minutes (roughly 5 miles) on the bike to keep it constant, and 1 mile on the run. Depending on how much you sweat, this can be 2 - 5 licks.
If you’re keeping your workout rates consistent during the winter, then you cannot overlook your hydration status. For every training session, show up well hydrated.
The final thing you should do is listen to your body. Since you won’t be sweating, the only way to monitor your hydration status will be in your urine. When the pee is coloured, it’s a sign that your body needs replenishment. That’s why learning to listen to your body and to read the early signs of thirst is actually the best way to keep your fluid levels up.
If you’ll be training first thing in the morning, go to bed well hydrated - add electrolytes to your liquids.
As far as our hydro is concerned and compared to products like Tailwind, we have 3 sugar sources in 2 different formats. Tailwind is short burn sugar, while we have 2 short burn sugars and a long burn sugar in Maltodextrin. This helps get the energy up, and then keep it up. We use mineral salt as our salt source, so it is best to mix with our Base Electrolyte Salt to get the rest of your electrolytes.
Happy winter training people! :-)