We jump on the bike with a half bottle of water from yesterday’s 20 mile ride to do a 15-30 mile day thinking to our selves, “Ah, it’s a bit cool outside….I shouldn’t be thirsty or sweat to much” well that’s wrong no matter the weather a solid rule of thumb would be 16-20oz of water or water with preferred mix every 60 minutes. This keeps the muscles that are working from cramping and locking up during your ride. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, the reason you’re thirsty is because you’re becoming dehydrated. As endurance athletes, hydration is key to optimal performance.
Hydration isn’t important only for on the bike but in you’re daily routine. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. Your body depends on water for survival. Your body is made up from any where to 50%-75% of water. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Through out the day with out a ride, swim, or a run so just a normal day in the office or work an easy rule would be the 8x8, which is 8 cups of 8 ounces of water which roughly equals up to around 2 liters.
When do I need to use an electrolyte mix?
If a ride becomes longer than an hour I personal would recommend this being the time for a scoop of mix (which is personal preference) some examples are Hammer, Scratch, Cytomax, Osmo, Gatorade, and many more which can be found at your local bike shop. There should be a serving in each bottle for each 60min effort. This will replace the salts, electrolytes, calcium, potassium and magnesium your body is beginning to lose during the endurance effort. With out these salts and electrolytes you can begin to cramp and dehydrate the body, which can lead to actually passing out which can be fatal to the body completely and during recovery.
Easy Ways to Conquer not drinking and to start new habit?
A simple way to stay on top of drinking while riding is trying to take a 1 or 2 sips every 5 minutes during the ride, which is about 1oz-1.5oz every 5 minutes. Bring a water bottle or jug to work and start to tally cups/bottles consumed through out the day, follow the 8x8 rule. Physically writing it down and keeping track of consumption can help a higher over-all consumption rate because you will begin to notice how low the intake of water is through out the day. Also, weighing your self before and after the ride, for every pound lost after the ride/effort consume about one 8 ounce cup of water.