Develop a Drinking Habit!

author : Glenn
comments : 1

Without doubt, the single most glaring error I have noticed is the scarce amount of fluids athletes ingest during a race!

This last month has seen a host of top quality duathlons around South Africa. I have raced 5 times over the month and noticed some interesting habits.

The big secret to a great race
Without doubt, the single most glaring error I have noticed is the scarce amount of fluids athletes ingest during a race!

At both Powerman and Afriman (local races in South Africa), I continuously passed people who were struggling. After the races, people complained how they had cramped or had run “out of steam”. Indeed, I passed athletes on the bike and run who just had not consumed enough liquids.

Lets break down the race:
The 10km run.
What do you drink during the first run?

Most people will drink water, and some may drink the product on offer.  Water does not contain carbohydrates. More than likely all it will do is lower your body temperature. Research has shown that a carbohydrate deficit over as little as a 1 km time trial can affect your performance!  It is not often I see even elite athletes taking water with a carbohydrate gel. Most of us think, “It is only 10km so there is no need.” But remember, the 10km takes over 30 minutes. A duathlon has a compound effect because if you begin the race by not drinking much on the run, the problems surface on the latter part of the bike and, of course, the final run.

My suggestion: drink water but also use a gel on the run. Experiment in your training so your body becomes accustomed to this practice. Don’t wait for the last run to use the gel--it is too late!

If you are running a triathlon, then possibly use a gel or energy bar close to start time.

The bike
It is difficult to consume the correct amount of fluids on the run. The ideal place to hydrate the body is therefore on the bike. Yet I saw people at both Powerman and Afriman who took 1 bottle with them for the whole race! Furthermore, by the end of the race, that bottle was not even half empty!

Use the bike to drink, drink, drink. Often I hear athletes say they forget to drink. You need to develop a drinking habit urgently! A way to encourage yourself to drink more is to use your computer. Make a point of drinking every 20-30 minutes. IM Korea winner Raynard Tissink does this very well in his races.

Louanne Rivett, well known triathlete and physiotherapist in South Africa competed in IM Australia recently. She remarked how the Australians refer to the bike leg as a “food fiesta.” The point is we need to consume more liquids during the bike leg. Yes, you can add your energy bars and gels if you need to.

Top Duathlete and IM triathlete Stefan Riesen from Switzerland proves the point further. Stefan is a past winner of both Powerman Zofingen and IM France. He has told me that he can consume as many as 10 gels on the bike leg and numerous energy bars as well as bananas ( this is on a 150km bike leg at Zofingen; proportionately, this is about 4-5 gels on a 60km bike leg).

The final run
It is a good idea to take at least 1-2 gels on the last run. My assumption is based on a 10km run. On a half IM or full IM distance, you will need more. Remember, it is quite difficult to take in sufficient water whilst running, and the gel will help feed the body some carbohydrates.

Heed this word of warning about gels, though. This article may sound very much in favour of gels. Well, it is not! Not many gels on the market contain the right amount of carbohydrates that one requires over an hour period.  Thus, they are not the “be all and end all” of race nutrition. For me, they are very useful on the run and ideally form a supplementary role in your hydration strategy. It is preferable to find a drink that contains the correct amount of carbohydrates for you.

A final tip
Work out how long you expect the race to take you. Plan your drinking and eating routine around this time. Try drink at regular intervals as we mentioned earlier. 

If you are disciplined about you drinking during a race, I guarantee you will not only have much more energy and concentration but you will also go faster!


Glenn Macnamara is a professional Duathlete in South Africa. He is sponsored by Enervit. He runs a unique coaching service to athletes from all over the world via internet radio. To contact Glenn, check out his website on www.sir247.net or via the email button above.

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date: July 5, 2005

Glenn

I am an elite duathlete here in South Africa. I compete in Powerman Long distance duathlons around the world. Had some good results in the last few years like 4th in Japan, 5th in Malaysia, 6th in France and South Africa and recently 15th pro at Powerman Zofingen.
Was ranked 16th in the Powerman world rankings at the beginning of 2003.

avatarGlenn

I am an elite duathlete here in South Africa. I compete in Powerman Long distance duathlons around the world. Had some good results in the last few years like 4th in Japan, 5th in Malaysia, 6th in France and South Africa and recently 15th pro at Powerman Zofingen.
Was ranked 16th in the Powerman world rankings at the beginning of 2003.

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