I like to gather different data when I am training. Some of the data is the same as many other athletes and coaches gather, but what I want to write this blog about, is hydration. I am heavier than most cyclists, runners, and triathletes. This is one of the reasons I have to manage my fluids and hydration properly. Another reason I have to track it so much, due to the fact that during training rides, I tend to log extra miles and/or get lost.
One of the ways I gather and log the data, in order to learn and make corrections, is I weigh myself before I go for a run or bike ride. I write down my weight and then how much water and/or fluids I take in during the run. When I return from the run or bike ride, I then reweigh myself. I subtract the return weight from the beginning weight and add back in the weight of what I consumed during training. This gives me how much weight in sweat that I lost during the training. I write down the information along with the temperature and humidity during the session. This helps me to know, roughly, what is going to happen to my body during the race.
Example: (beginning weight – after training weight) + weight of water or fluids taken in during training
179 – 174 = 5 5 – 0 = 5 pounds of sweat lost during the run
The above example shows a starting weight of 179, with an after the training weight of 174, with no fluid intake during the training. This means I lost over half a gallon of sweat. I know from past training and racing that during a 10km or similar race, I am not affected much by losing this much sweat. I if it was going to a long race day, though, I know I would need to take in fluids during the race, and most likely the day before or the morning of the race.
Another way to test my hydration plan, or what sometimes turns out to be the lack of hydration plan, is to plan a ride or run during the heat of the day, instead of the cooler morning or evening. I do this when I know that I have some events or races coming up that are likely going to be hot. I will take the same type of hydration that I would be using the day of the event and make the training very similar to the type of course and distance of the event. This will let me know if my plan is going to work or what I need to do to adjust it, if needed. For example, the other day I went out for a distance ride and took the same amount of water I would try to consume during the ride leg of a half distance triathlon. When the ride was over I felt good with my hydration and the amount of fluids I took in.
The last way I will address is a simple way for me to track my hydration. When I have enough fluids the day and night before a big training day or race day, I normally have to get up once or twice in the middle of the night to use the restroom. I know if I am hydrated before a big training day or race by how many times I have to use the restroom and the color of my urine. I know most people have seen the color of your urine chart, and I am a firm believer that I can predict how much fluid I am going to need during the race or training day by this chart.
Do you track your sweat?
Do you track your fluid intake before, during, after training or on off days?