1. Drinking too little or excessive amounts of water.
Your body requires between 500ml and 1 litre of water throughout exercise. Dehydration will occur if you body takes in less than that amount, but also more than that amount can lead to delusional hyponatremia (overly diluted blood sodium levels) or water-intoxication. Your individual recommended water consumption may differ from this e.g. weather/climate. Effective ways to measure this is by recording your weight pre and post exercise & maintaining weight loss to no more than 1%.
2. Water only Hydration.
A water only hydration strategy may dilute your blood sodium levels. Keeping a balance of electrolytes & water within your body will allow your body to avoid cramping, gastric stress, muscle spasms & the bloated feeling many athletes suffer from. The feeling of excess water in the stomach is caused by a lack of electrolytes which speed up the absorption of fluids into the lower intestine.
3. Only using a simple sugar fuel
Simple sugars are used in most popular sports drinks for taste and some energy. However, despite the short-term energy boost, simple sugar fuels must be mixed in weak solutions or they will simply sit undigested in the stomach and not pass through the gastric lining, possibly creating an upset stomach or cramps. The right combination of short and long-term sugars in a sports drink is paramount, as they provide a steady release of energy over a longer period of time, which will improve performance and concentration.
4. Not providing your body fluids when it needs it.
Many athletes make the mistake of consuming water & hydration drinks when they feel the need to replenish their body or top up on energy. This approach is unseccessful as you need to determine your individual sweat rate before each race, this will then allow you to plan your hydration needs dependant on certain weather and race conditions.Top tips for staying hydrated:
Sip small amounts of you hydration drink over time rather than taking on excess amounts during exercise.
Consume at least 250 to 500ml before exercise for optimum performance.
Every 15 to 20 minutes you should be consuming 150 to 250 ml of water to sustain flow to your small intestine.
Increase the intake according to your intensity of training and sweat loss.
5. Forgetting to plan ahead of time.
The ideal way to measure how much hydration your body needs is through practise, don’t try figuring it out on the day. Understanding the right balance of water, fuel & electrolytes for your body will allow for the most optimum performance. Trying & testing new products on the day of a race will not allow you to comprehend your body’s reaction to different drinks.