How good hydration can benefit you and your ride
The human body is made up of 60 per cent water, so it’s no surprise that hydration will have a significant impact on your training for Ford RideLondon-Essex. To help you hydrate effectively in training and on the big day itself, check out our top tips below!
Replace what you’ve lost
Whether you’re cycling in hot temperatures or on a cool, cloudy day, your body loses water and essential salts through sweat. If these are not replaced, you’ll become dehydrated, which compromises your performance and prolongs your recovery. A two to three per cent reduction in body mass via water loss can have an impact on your concentration, decrease your muscle power and even result in serious complications – so it’s important to make good hydration a priority!
The following factors can all influence your hydration levels when cycling:
How hydrated you are before you ride
- The more dehydrated you are to begin with, the more you’ll need to drink during your ride.
Your sweat rate
- This is often influenced by genetics, weather conditions, clothing and your level of fitness. As expected, a higher sweat rate means your body needs a higher intake of fluids.
- Every individual is different, so the capacity to tolerate different amounts of fluid loss before exercise performance is impacted will vary from one person to the next.
The duration and intensity of your ride
- The longer your ride, or the harder the intensity of your workout, the more likely you are to sweat. In these cases, it’s key that you replenish your fluids.
Your training status
- Highly trained individuals can tolerate slightly different levels of fluid loss than more recreational riders.
Listening to your body’s thirst mechanism and checking your urine colour are both great indicators of when you need to take in more fluid.
Maintaining the correct fluid balance sounds easy, as many people think drinking water alone is enough – however, water doesn’t contain all-important electrolytes, which are also lost during exercise and needed to maintain basic body functions. That means drinking only water isn’t the most efficient way to stay hydrated while cycling.
There are various sports drinks and hydration tablets available on the market that help to replenish your electrolyte stores, so it’s worth trying a few of these during training to make sure you’re using the right ones. It’s also useful to note that many sports hydration tablets don’t contain any carbohydrate, so try to take on a small amount of carbohydrate as you ride to absorb the electrolytes and water.
Follow these hydration tips and you’re one step closer to becoming an even better rider!