April 29, 2019
Hooked on Hydration! Hydration is critical for optimum sports performance. Frequently understated, hydration can impact an athlete’s performance not only for one run, but for an entire day of training/competition or longer. As little as 2% dehydration is where we start to experience the negative side effects of dehydration. This means that athletes have to stay 98% hydrated to be at our optimum performance.
Does dehydration really affect my performance? Here are some of the general common side effects that can be experienced by athletes.
- Decrease cognitive function
- Decrease decision making
- Cramping muscles
Ski racers can struggle with hydration for a number of reasons:
- Limited access to bathrooms or
- Easy of access to water
- Cold weather
Selling athletes on a cold glass of water can also be difficult in the cold winter months as your thirst cues can be thrown off or suppressed due to the harsh weather and high altitudes. In the summer, we run into the opposite; scorching sun reflecting off the glacier snow, no running water, limited peeing space, distractions and athletes without a current hydration routine. Rarely do we see the extreme effect of dehydration but in order to make the most of your training days here are some ideas to help stay hydrated!
Athletes need to start thinking of hydration before they show up to training or a race day! Hydration needs to be thought of in advance. So – how do athletes stay hydrated while skiing? This is where we have to get creative with the understanding that the classic recommendations may not work.
- Teas/Steamed Milk On cold winter days hydrating with warmer drinks may be an easier sell. Milk is 80% water so may be nice to have a cup in your morning thermos. All herbal teas are great hydrators and are accessible if placed either at the top or bottom of the course or chair.
- Fruits & Veggies These contain ~25 % of are daily water consumption and can help with hydration. Put some mandarin oranges into your jacket to eat while riding up the chair. Throw some fresh fruit and veggies into your lunch.
- Home made soups Soup broth, as long as not too salty can be a great way to get some extra fluids in while fueling up with lunch.
- Reusable bottles Fill this up in the morning sip on it during your drive to the hill. Throw in a water bottle (empty if carrying your pack) to sip on during lunch, and after skiing on the drive home.
- Spice up you water! Adding fresh fruit, a splash of juice, to make your water more palatable.
- Building a culture Come up with a team strategy! Encourage each other to stay in the routine before, during and after training of hydrating.
Just like how we fuel, hydration is not just a method on our days off. Getting hydrated the night before will help you potential perform at your best, followed by continual rehydration through your training and post training 😊
Key Times To Hydrate:
- Day off Hydrate on your days off. Get a routine and set a goal to drink water and stay hydrated on off days. Wake up your thirst cue so that your body can communicate to you.
- Before Training show up hydrated! Remember to hydrate the day before training. Also 2 hours before training athletes should start sipping on 500 mL of water (don’t disrupt your sleep schedule if you have early morning training as sleep is critical)
- During Training à Bottle Placement On training days place a water bottle either at the top of the course or bottom of the chair so you can sip on your water in between laps.
- * Make sure that you find a water bottle that is insulated and has a lid that doesn’t freeze shut 😊
- Post Training Rehydrate after the workout to replace lost fluids and continue hydrating though out the day.
**Remembering that every athlete is different and may require different hydration schedules. Speak with a Registered Dietitian to find out what is best for you!