Hey there and welcome back to Coach Tip Tuesday!!
I went on a bike ride yesterday and my water bottle that was filled with ice (literally) melted in 15 minutes (also literally - I timed it). It was exceptionally hot out here in Central New York, and it made me think about the fact that SO many of the athletes who I work for constantly don’t hydrate well enough and leave me notes “explaining” why. This all leads me to this week’s tip: there are excuses, and then there are reasons.
Last week we had a chat about how the greatest antidote of fear is preparation. We’re going to continue this theme of preparation by talking about how you NEED (yes - not should, NEED) to plan to hydrate yourselves on your workouts. In fact, you need to plan many aspects of your workouts. Hydration and fueling are two of the more critical things to plan, but they’re only a few of the things you need to plan.
In response to my question about why they got dehydrated during a workout, I’ve had many, many athletes respond with one or more of the following:
“I didn’t want to stop.”
“I don’t have enough storage capacity for that amount of liquids.”
“I don’t want to need water.”
What do all of these have in common?? They are excuses, not reasons, for not hydrating. Hydration is critical to your existence as a human being. There are very, very few valid reasons for not hydrating well. There are, however, plenty of excuses for not doing it.
Don’t have enough capacity for the full volume of what you need to consume during your workout?? You can certainly up your storage capacity (i.e. add more cages to your bike, switch to a system that can hold more fluids for when you’re running), but you also have options to work with what you currently have. Plan to stop and refill, either at a store, your house, or a place where you’ve stashed supplies along your route ahead of time.
Don’t want to stop?? Get over it. (Yes, that’s my official advice on this. :-P ) You will lose far more time due to dehydration than you will by taking the time to stop and hydrate, I promise. I once worked for an athlete who under-fueled and under-hydrated significantly and received a DNF at a race for exceeding the racecourse time limit. We did the math afterwards; if the athlete had consumed enough fuel and hydration, they wouldn’t have bonked and slowed down so much that they missed the time cutoff. Either practice the skills you need to be able to take in hydration while on the go, or plan to incorporate stops to hydrate into your training plan.
Want to get by without water?? That’s like saying you don’t want to exist. Not consuming water for extended periods of time while completing endurance training isn’t a badge of honor or something to be celebrated. The only thing you’re doing by doing this is sabotaging your own potential and success.
Please, I beg of you, honor your bodies and develop a plan that keeps you hydrated well. It very well may be the difference between a workout that feels amazing and a workout that feels like total poo. You deserve to feel amazing. :)