The correct hydration is an issue that all athletes have taken into account, for the correct performance of their activities. In long trials, as in an IronMan, a correct hydration is even more relevant, since this type of tests are very demanding and you have to be fully prepared to face them. In addition, it is also vital to ingest sodium, the main electrolyte, to prevent cases of hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia is due to the low level of sodium in plasma, which can be caused by a massive intake of water. Therefore, during the triathlon test you have to balance these shots to be well hydrated. Apart from sodium and water, hydration is subject to other factors such as: duration of the test, weather, humidity, etc. Therefore, exact amounts can not be given for electrolyte and water intake.
To carry out a good hydration during the race, it is necessary to take into account that a great ingestion of water can produce sobrehidratación. Overhydration causes hyponatremia, and this is reflected in the fatigue suffered by the athlete. So drinking water is important, but it's even more important to know how much, how, and when.
The recommended quantity is 900 ml/h in the cycling part and 700 ml/h during the running part. These values may vary depending on the circumstances. The smaller the size of a person, the less you will have to drink. The test conditions also have an impact on the participant, for example, the more heat and moisture the more water you will have to drink.
Hydration shots should be every 15-20 minutes. If an "Iron Man" drinks a lot in a longer time interval can suffer gastrointestinal discomfort. In addition, to avoid gastrointestinal problems it is important to test the products that will be consumed during the race during the workouts. In this way, you can discard those drinks that do not interest.
Water and a correct hydration is vital, but you must always keep in mind the electrolytes. In times of intense sweating like in a triathlon it is easier to lose these components (in case of sweating: sodium, potassium and chloride). To avoid situations of hyponatremia, do not overhydrate, but in cases where the triathlete has to drink large volumes of water (for example, when it is very hot) electrolyte shots can be taken.
Jaime Martínez Fernández
Degree in Physical Education
Top Triathlon Coach