Thursday, June 30, 2011

Denmark, Singapore, Mexico....back to the U.S. of A, Peaks Athletes Rock!

Mark Herbst- 1st place in the 2 person Division of 2011 Race Across America
Congratulations to Peak’s athlete Mark Herbst and his partner Paul Millar for winning the 2-person division of the 2011 Race Across America (RAAM), a nearly 3,000 mile non-stop race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. Mark and Paul set a new record for 2 riders age 50 or older crossing the United States on singles, with a time of 6 days, 23 hours, 21 minutes. They averaged 17.86 miles per hour on 2 to 3 hours of sleep per day.
Peaks Coach: Randy Catron

Team Cool Breeze Race for Heroes- 4th single bike team division of the 2011 Race Across America 
Congratulations also to Team Cool Breeze Race for Heroes, an 8-rider team out of North Carolina that also completed the 2011 Race Across America (RAAM). The team was composed of 5-women and 3-men, and held off several all-male teams chasing close up until the finish. Team Cool Breeze Race for Heroes finished 4th among the single bike team division with a time of  6 days, 4 hours, 59 minutes and averaged 20.07 mph. Congratulations to Sarah Matchett, Karen Wandel, Kathy Goody, Franci Pirkle, Leigh-Ann Mueller, Kris Long, Martin Turner, and Lee Wandel. 
Peaks Coach: Randy Catron

Sune Kjaer-1st place at Bikeman stage race in Silkeborg, Denmark
Bikeman is a 7 stage race set over a weekend that includes a TT, TTT, Mountain Stage TT, and road races. The competition was extremely tough this year and the weather conditions were even tougher with lots of wind and rain. Way to go Sune!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Mike Steeves- 4th Place Mineral Wells Time Trial
Mike raced the Mineral Wells TT last weekend against some of the best Masters 40+ riders in the state and finished a strong 4th finishing the 39K TT course in 56:50. Great job Mike!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Rina Nehmad- 4th place at Triathlon Tequesquitengo in Tenquesquitengo, Mexico
The course was extremely difficult, but Rina had a strong ride, mixing it up with the top finishers who changed positions every 2-3 minutes. The run was really challenging, but Rina held on to  4th position.
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Tom Platt-5th place at Methow Cycle & Sport Mountain Challenge, Sport Men 35 - 44, Methow, WA
Right out of the gate was a 4.5 mile climb, miles of single track and technical sections including a rock garden that sucked up his wheel, went down hard and still nailed a top 10.  Tom, awesome work !
Peaks Coach: Earl Zimmermann

Becky Smith - Personal Record at the 5k Run for Roses in Weaton, MD
Becky has been working on her run for a while this season and it has really has paid off!   She shaved 1:44min off of her time on this race course from last year!   Way to go Becky!
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Siong Hing - 9th place at Singapore Nationals
Despite a wickedly challenging course at the Singapore National Individual Time Trial, Siong Hing explains “Strangely the course must also have been difficult for everyone.   Came in 9th overall in my cat against all the usual suspects so guess I must have still done quite okay!!!”
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Tim Whitney - 5th at the Cohasset Triathlon
Tim Whitney placed 5th in his Age Group at the Cohasset Triathlon.   Congratulations Tim!
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Monday, June 27, 2011

Protein for the Endurance Athlete...How much is enough?

By Anne Guzman 
Peaks Coaching Group Nutritionist
Pro Cyclist

Peaks Coaching Group Anne Guzman Nutrition

As endurance athletes our bodies require different amounts of nutrients than our more sedentary counterparts. Long term research indicates repeatedly that endurance athlete should consume a diet of approximately 60% carbohydrates, 20-25% fats and 15-20% protein.[i] One area that seems to be misunderstood is the proper requirement for protein for endurance athletes.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. 20 different amino acids are commonly found in proteins. Humans can synthesize 11. The other 9 must be received through the diet. These are referred to as Essential Amino Acids. The body needs all 20 amino acids. The following will help you understand how much protein you need as an endurance athlete.

Whereas the average non athlete may eat a bit more protein to help them stay feeling more full or simply because it the way they prefer to organize their diet, as endurance athletes we don’t really have that luxury. It is important that we have enough carbohydrates to fuel our exercise, which means that we would have more carbohydrates than the everyday person in place of their higher protein calories. Although in the following pages you will see that protein is important for bodily functions, there is a limit to how much we require and can use for fuel.

The majority of endurance athletes consume TOO MUCH protein in their diets. With the billion dollar diet industry pushing Low Carbohydrate and Zone-esque like diets, some athletes also seem to have jumped onto the high protein, lower carbohydrate bandwagon. Whether it be in an attempt to lose weight or simply because athletes believe this is what they need to perform optimally, it is a mistake. Although we do need protein, it is not the endurance athlete’s fuel of choice. These diets are for weight loss and are calorie and carbohydrate restrictive. A recipe for BONKING!

As an overweight person the scenario is different and a diet with a bit more protein can help with weight loss and feelings of fullness. But again, we are talking about the athlete. And the athlete needs to PERFORM.

The bottom line for endurance athletes is that carbohydrates and fats are the necessary fuels for energy. Our diets need to have 60% carbohydrates for FUEL and recovery as well as to SPARE PROTEIN. In the sports nutrition community carbohydrates are often said to have a “protein sparing effect.” What this refers to is that we should eat  at LEAST 60% carbohydrates (or follow the proper grams per kilogram according to your training level)  in order to spare the protein for its routine uses in the body. Protein is required to make antibodies for the immune system, it builds tissues (hair, nails, skin, and muscle) as well protein makes enzymes (which increase the rate of metabolic reactions) and hormones. Protein is also required to make hemoglobin which is needed to transport oxygen to the exercising muscles! If we do not eat enough carbohydrates, we will have to break down protein within body tissues as a source of fuel. This is very inefficient.  When the body has to resort to protein for fuel it will rob the body of protein needed for its many important uses noted above. We must keep the protein available for its other IMPORTANT bodily functions.

Protein has a slow gastric emptying rate (stays in the stomach longer) and therefore is not the food of choice while on the bike (although protein in small quantities in sports drinks is still up for debate). My point is that carbohydrates are king while riding and training! Additionally when protein is burned as fuel it creates excess nitrogen which is excreted in sweat and urine. This results in increased urinary volume and increased dehydration. This is a double negative; inefficient fuel and dehydration. On top of this protein is also “expensive!”

I think it is important at this point to reiterate that protein is NOT a big source of fuel during exercise. Even if you consume more, this will not change. This is science.  “Based on nitrogen balance it can be estimated that protein contributes about 5%-15% to energy expenditure at rest. During exercise, in relative terms more amino acids may be oxidized. In relative terms, however, protein as a fuel is not important because of the much greater increase of carbohydrate and fat oxidation which are your main fuel sources during exercise.  Therefore during prolonged exercise the relative contribution of protein to energy expenditure is usually much lower than it is at rest, usually well BELOW 5%!  In extreme conditions when carbohydrate availability is limited this can rise to   10%”. [ii] Therefore you can see why endurance athletes will not benefit from higher than recommended protein diets. It is important to understand this as many traditional DIET BOOKS are pushing high protein diets. But for these reasons those diets DO NOT WORK FOR ENDURANCE ATHLETES.

The recommended intake of protein for the average person is 0.8g/kg body weight. For endurance athletes, the recommended intake is 1.2 to 1.8g/kg body weight.[iii] Studies show that endurance athletes need 1.2-1.4g/kg body weight to maintain nitrogen balance. In the van Erp-Baart et al study, the highest self reported intakes among athletes was from endurance cyclists who consumed a almost 3g/kg body weight per day. This excess protein will not help these cyclists perform optimally. In fact excess protein is simply stored as extra calories….or fat. On the other hand if you are keeping your energy needs maintained on an excess protein diet this means you are missing out on vital energy sources from carbohydrates and fats. Remember Carbohydrates and Fats ARE YOUR ENERGY SOURCES!

There are two schools of thought. Some scientists feel there is no need to increase protein more than the average person. The other school recommends the range mentioned above 1.2-1.8g/kg. I am of the school that we should intake 1.2-1.8g/kg but sit in the middle of the range. One interesting observation scientists have made is that training seems to have a protein sparing effect in that the better trained an athlete is the less protein oxidation occurs [iv]. This again supports that we do not require excess protein in the diet and may be fine with the amounts recommended to the general population of 0.8g/kg.

To give you a visual idea of what a 1.6g/kg or protein would look like, here is an example of 1.6 grams per kilo for a 165lb athlete:

  • Ex. 165 lb (75kg) athlete in training would eat 120 grams (480cals) of a 3,000-3,500 cal day versus 2000-2500 in carbohydrates.
  • In comparison it is not a large portion of the calories.
  • 120 grams of protein looks like this:
  • 6oz chicken - 40g
  • 2 eggs - 12g
  • 1C plain yogurt - 6g
  • 1 scoop whey protein - 25g
  • 2C black beans and rice - 14g
  • 1C Quinoa - 24g
Having given this example, an athlete would likely need less than what is listed above since there are small amounts of protein in many foods. For example one piece of 100% whole wheat bread has 6 grams of protein, a glass of milk has 8 grams of protein and a cup of oatmeal has 6 grams of protein. Quinoa for example is a grain considered a carbohydrate but has 24grams of protein per cup. It all adds up. This is why it is important to analyze your daily intake in order to not take in excess and be sure to have enough carbohydrates instead.

Even if you increase your protein requirements from the average daily requirement of 0.8g/kg body weight to 1.2-1.8 g/kg it is typically very easy to meet these requirements. In fact chances are you are already eating protein within the endurance athlete recommended range of 1.2-1.8g/kg. Even Tour de France athletes whose diets have been closely followed (some eating 7000-9000 calories a day) are able to meet their protein needs simply due to the increase in overall caloric intake. As noted above we tend to forget that almost all foods have some protein in them.  Generally speaking there is a linear relationship between energy intake and protein intake and if you are matching your energy expenditure for the day you should not have to add protein supplements to your diet. (Having said this protein shakes are often used for convenience more so than for extra protein). Generally speaking getting enough protein from your diet is not a challenge if you are eating properly.

There is a lot of information out there on sports nutrition and a lot of great research that has been ongoing for a long time. This is a well studied and researched area of nutrition. There is no question that the optimal dietary breakdown for endurance athletes is at least 60% carbohydrates, 20-25% fats and 15-20% protein. [v]Trust that you need carbohydrates for fuel, fiber, nutrients and recovery. You need fat for hormones, cell membranes, fuel and to reduce inflammation. You need protein for important bodily functions such as your immune system, tissues, hormones, enzymes and hemoglobin.  Eating high NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS in these proportions is how you will attain optimal performance in tandem with a proper training plan.
The bottom line is; Protein is necessary for the active athlete, but more is not necessarily better. And this is especially so if you replace total caloric needs with protein at the expense of carbohydrates.

The best starting point for you as an athlete is to journal your diet for 3-5 days. Track your macronutrient percentages (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) to make sure you are getting the most from your diet for recovery, performance and overall health. I use Training Peaks Software to track my own and my clients’ dietary intakes. It will break down your daily calories into macronutrients so that you can adjust accordingly either by grams or calories. Pie charts at the bottom of your page show you visual breakdown of your daily caloric intake.  Once you have created a week of meals in the right ratios you will be off to a running start! It can be the difference between being good and being GREAT. If you don’t have the optimal fuel in the tank, you can’t expect the engine to run optimally. Proper sports nutrition can increase your training results dramatically.

We as athletes often undermine all of our hard training by not paying good enough attention to our nutrition. But nutrition is half the recipe to your success!

[i] Ryan, Monique. Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes-Second Edition. Velo Press, March 2007
[ii] (Jeukenrup, Asker. Gleeson, Michael. Sport Nutrition-Second Edition.  Champaign, IL; Versa Press, 2010.)
[iii] (Jeukenrup, Asker. Gleeson, Michael. Sport Nutrition-Second Edition.  Champaign, IL; Versa Press, 2010.)
[iv] (Butterfield et al 1984) (Phillips et al. 1999)
[v] Ryan, Monique. Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes-Second Edition. Velo Press, March 2007

Friday, June 24, 2011

Top Spots for Peaks Athletes

Amanda Carey - 1st place Lumberjack 100, NUE series
Her third major win of the series
Amanda is the Defending 2010 NUE series champion, She came off of her Transylvanian Epic win  to win her 3rd NUE series event this year.  She also set a new course record with a time of 7:40:38 finishing 20 min ahead of 2nd place.
Peaks Coach: Kristen Dieffenbach

Colin Cares - 1st place Bailey Hundo 100 miler in Colorado
In his first 100 mile event, Colin scored the top podium spot finishing in 06:42:47, 20 mi faster than 2nd.
Peaks Coach: Kristen Dieffenbach

Mark Franks- 1st place at Carnation long course (27 miles) TT, Mens 50+, Carnation, WA
Mark received his new P4 a few days before the event, I dialed in the position and he just took off, literally.  He beat his competition by 2 minutes with a 1:01.44.  Way to dig deep on a cold, windy, wet course.
Peaks Coach: Earl Zimmermann

Jim Lewis - 3rd place in AG at Patriot Half Ironman in East Freetown, MA
Jim had a great race; he managed a Personal Record on half Ironman course by 3minutes!   Way to go Jim!
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Fred Williams - Personal record at the Patriot Half Ironman course in East Freetown, MA
Fred hit a PR, with faster swim and cycling times at the Half IM.   Being one of his early races of the season, he felt it was a good learning experience.  It reminded him of some key race strategies to work on in the coming weeks, in preparation for his Ironman.
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

David Hart- Finishing the 148 mile B2B Ride, Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA to Winsor, VT Brewery
David describes this event as the “toughest ride I have ever done”.   He went on to say it was an “Incredibly fun day where I learned a lot about myself”.   Despite the brutally challenging course, he felt he was ready and decided he was even more ready to step up to his next challenge of getting ready for Vermont’s Six Gap Ride
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Bruce Rychlik- Finishing the 148 mile B2B Ride, Harpoon Brewery in Boston, MA to Winsor, VT Brewery
“Longest ride I’ve ever done”.   Bruce describes his day as a fast paced challenge (relative to the duration) that was incredibly beautiful, and full of really nice people!  He felt well prepared and enjoyed the moments of saving energy to ride with the group but also realized sometimes he was using extra energy to ride with the group!   A great day!
Peaks Coach: Karen Mackin

Peaks Coach - Kris Walker - 1st place Summit Hill Climb-12.2 mile climb
Hey, I raced the town to summit hill climb last weekend and WONiT!  12.2 mile climb from Sun Valley to the top of trail creek with 2.5 miles of dirt road at the end.  Right up my alley.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peaks Athletes had an AWESOME Race Week!

Robert Donavon 1st Place NC State Road Race Masters 35+
Robert continued his winning ways this weekend with a great win in the NC state Road race.  He won from a breakaway and is looking forward to carrying his great form to the Tour of Dairyland in Wisconsin in the coming weeks!
Peaks Coach: Hunter Allen

Mark Franks - 2nd place overall at Capital Stage Race, Mens Cat 3, Olympia, WA. 
After two days of racing and a final 90 mile road race it all came down to the last 1K and a bunch sprint.  Mark did an awesome job of holding off his competition to take 6th in the RR to clinch 2nd overall.
Peaks Coach: Earl Zimmermann

Tiffany Pezzulo - 1st place at Tulsa Tough criterium and 3rd Overall
This past weekend Tiffany got her first ever NRC win!  Friday night, she got in a break of 4 and won the sprint.  Saturday, she got 2nd in the field sprint for 3rd overall--another podium!  Way to be a PRO, Tiffany!
Peaks Coach: Kris Walker

Kelly Wathne - completed the Boise 1/2 Ironman
Despite extremely cold water temperatures(53 degrees!). Once Kelly warmed up, she had a strong second half of her bike leg and went on to complete a super strong run.  She finished in 6:13:21.
Peaks Coach: Kris Walker
Terry Rychlik-  7th place at The Ridgefield CT Sprint triathlon
Terry set a personal best on the 5k and he cut 6 minutes off of his last years time. Great result Terry!
Peaks Coach-Bill Earthman
Bill Sheahan – PR run split, Mooseman Half Ironman, Newfound Lake, NH
Bill did the Mooseman Half Ironman in Newfound Lake, NH.   He was pleased with his results and exclaimed "It was the fastest run I've ever done in a Half Ironman Race, I am happy with the whole race!”
Peaks Coach - Karen Mackin

Louis Naes- 1st Place Tour de Hills Road Race Cat 4 Harrison AR
Lou likes Arkansas, notching his first Cat. 4 win in a 2-rider break and winning the sprint. Earlier in the spring Lou took second in the Cat. 4 Hell’s Kitchen Road Race in Hogeye, AR. and 6th GC Cat 4 at Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayettevill AR
Peaks Coach-Randy Catron

Jacques Brunswick Iron Man Gran Fondo, Lakeville, MN
In the course of several hours, on a 68-mile course, Jacques experienced  wind that averaged 25 mph, with gusts to 35mph, and a temperature that started at 30F, and reach a “balmy” 35F by ride-end. And just to make it more fun, it snowed. Jacques rode great and his coach joined him for the fun!
Peaks Coach-Randy Catron

Team Cool Breeze preps for RAAM on June 16th
Members of the 8-rider Cool Breeze for Heroes Race Across America Team are in peak period leading up to the Race Across America which begins for them at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 in Oceanside, CA (and finishes in Annapolis, MD). The team is based out of North Carolina and includes Karen and Lee Wandel, Sarah Matchett and Kathy Goody, Leigh Ann  Mueller, Kris Long, Franci Pirkle and Martin Turner.  The current strategy is two teams of four riders on 6-hour shifts, with pulls of 30-minutes to 1 hour for each rider. Volume for the riders is at 15+ hours per week now, typically with one or two middle-of-the night rides. Several of the riders are participating in local races for training, including a local time trial series. 
Peaks Coach – Randy Catron

Louis Naes, 1st Cat. 4, 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peaks Coaches and Athlete's Rock!

Sam Kreig – 1st 2011 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic
“Hunter,  I had an awesome race I absolutely got dropped on the first climb those dudes are so strong then I got back I got my sh*t back together and attacked the top of the second climb over the top completely pegged I was completely at my limit. We dropped everyone got a 4 min. gap I dropped the guy I was with and solo’d to the win.  I won the overall yellow jersey, the whole thing super super cool!!  Go SAM!!!

Jeremiah Bishop- 1st place 2011 Transylvania Epic Mens Open
Jeremiah finished strong with the winning time of 15:14
Peaks Coach: Hunter Allen

Amanda Carey – 1st place 2011 Transylvania Epic Wos Open
Amanda finished first in this epic mountain bike event with a strong time of 19:06!
Peaks Coach: Kristen Deiffenbach

Mikaela Koffman - 4th at Hardwood Hills Canada
Mikaela had a really strong race at the Canada Cup #3 race at Hardwood Hills. Mikaela was the top U23 rider in the race and placed 4th, just 2:30 back from top senior Canadian racer Emily Batty.
Peaks Coach: Kristen Deiffenbach

Wendy Skean - Competed in the Temecula 12 hr event
Wendy finished this tough event with an impressive 50 miles in 8:30 hours!
Peaks Coach: Kristen Deiffenbach

Colin Cares – 5th at the Teva Games XC event
Peaks Coach: Kristen Deiffenbach

Caitlin Scheder-Bieschin - 1st at District TT for Junior 17-18 women
Junior rider Caitlin Scheder-Bieschin (of the Early Bird Women's Developmental Cycling Team) wins the District Time Trial for Junior 17-18 women, and also secures the Victory for the Northern California Junior Points Series for Junior 17/18 Girls! 
Peaks Coach: Laurel Green

Elaine Griffin - 1st  Tejas Triathlon (35-39 age group)
Elaine won the 35-39 age group category at The Tejas Triathlon  in Houston last weekend. She set a scorching pace on the bike and followed it up with a strong run to continue her string of podium appearances. Way to go Elaine!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Jim Breen - 10th Lake Auburn Road Race (45+ category)
Jim continues his great season with another top 10 performance. Jim finished 10th in the 45+ (Cat1-4) at Lake Auburn Road Race in Auburn, Maine. You rock Jim!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Mike Adams – 11th Let’s Roll into the Summer Omnium (35+ 4/5 category)
Mike  finished  a strong 11th  at The Let’s Roll in to the Summer Omnium in Comfort, TX.  Mike has been recovering from mid-season injuries is coming back strong and regaining his fitness quite nicely. Keep up the good work Mike!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Sune Steiniche Kjaer - 3rd in the Enkeltstarten 16 Km TT in Silkeborg, Denmark 
Sune battled the Danish winds to move up 2 places from his last years performance and take his spot on the podium.
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman
Chuck Crocco - 6th Place NJ State 40K TT Championship (45+category)
Chuck  place 6th with a strong time of 56:54 and meeting his personal goal to break the hour in the 40K – great job Chuck!
Peaks Coach: Bill Earthman

Mike Rickey- 5th at Ofallon Grand Prix
“I felt good the entire race, tried for 2 premes and finished 5th. Got pushed out on 8th corner and had 7 people pass me. Caught 2 before the finish.”  Rockin Mike!
Peaks Coach: Bill McLaughlin

Jordan Cullen - 1st at Wisconsin State Road Race Cat 1/2
Jordan claimed title to the Wisconsin Cat 1/2 Road Race State Championship.  Although still 1 month shy of his 16th birthday, phenomenally Jordan dropped his break away companions and surged to a last lap win on the challenging State Championship road course.  The race turned out the be great prep for the upcoming National Championship since it combined a hilly course with 90 degree heat and high humidity. Jordan is riding great form as he prepares to compete in the 15-16 year old Junior National Championships in Augusta Georgia.
Peaks Coach: Gordy Paulson

Tim Valentine - 1st Place Tennessee TT State Championships Cat 1/2
Tim won the Tennessee Cat 1/2 Time Trial State Championship on a rolling,  challenging course. Tim took advantage of his climbing strength on the hilly Tennessee course to deliver one of his best TT rides so far this season. He must have had something left in the tank however, because he followed this fine TT performance up the next day with strong rides in two separate Criteriums.
Peaks Coach : Gordy Paulson

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Bike fitting is very popular these days and for good reason!  A bike that has been properly fitted and aligned to your needs will improve your comfort and your power!  But what about the way you "sit" that now "fit" bike.  Check out this video on bike posture for riding and sprinting. 

Getting your FIT and your SIT correct on your bike is the key to maximizing your power!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hydrate to Win: Hydration and Performance

By Anne Guzman, Peaks Coaching Group Nutritionist

Athletes must be fully hydrated before they train or compete because the body cannot adapt to dehydration. Training quality will suffer if we allow ourselves to become dehydrated during training. The same goes for competition. In fact, as little dehydration as 2% can have a significant negative impact on performance. The sensation of thirst rarely occurs before the loss of 1.5 to 2 liters of water (approximately 2% of body weight) due to plasma osmolarity.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, thirst is not a good indicator of when to drink. This is even more important with age, as our thirst mechanism decreases with age. With many hours on the trainer and rollers indoors, it’s easy to let dehydration sneak up on you. Before you know it, you feel weak and can’t seem to find that energy you had weeks before. Dehydration is one of the number one causes of fatigue.

In this article I will cover what you should be drinking during training rides and easy rides, as well as post-exercise rehydration strategies. A simple way to check if you are hydrated is to look at your urine color. It should be pale in color, although if you’re taking supplements this can be unreliable, as B vitamins add a yellow color. A more precise method would be to purchase an osmometer, which measures urine osmolarity. An osmolarity over 900m osmol/kg indicates that the athlete is relatively dehydrated; values of 100 to 300m osmol/kg indicate that the athlete is well hydrated. You can purchase an osmometer for under $300.

Another test is body weight upon rising and before urinating. A drop in body mass from day to day is likely to indicate dehydration. Ideally athletes should consume enough liquid during activity to make body weight remain fairly stable before and after exercise. Weigh yourself before and after your training sessions. A general rule of thumb is to drink 500 ml of fluid (2 cups) for every pound lost.

Although there are no specific guidelines from the American or Canadian Dietetic Associations regarding how much to drink (largely due to the variance in individual sweat rates), there are some guidelines in place. The American College of Sports Medicine on Fluid Intake for Exercise and the Position Stand on Exercise and Fluid Replacement (2007), for example, recommend the following: Drink 6-8ml of fluid per kg of body weight about 2 hours before exercise. Drinking beverages with sodium or eating snacks with salt can stimulate thirst and help retain needed fluids. During exercise, start drinking early and at regular intervals to prevent dehydration. Fluids should be flavored to enhance palatability and promote fluid replacement.

During exercise longer than one hour, carbohydrates should be ingested at a rate of 30-60g per hour to maintain oxidation of carbohydrates and delay fatigue. An example is drinking 600-1200 ml/h of solutions containing 4-8% carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can be sugars (glucose, sucrose) or starch (maltodextrins).

It’s recommended to include sodium (500-700 mg/L of water) in the rehydration solution ingested during exercise longer than an hour because it may enhance palatability and promote fluid retention.

After exercise in situations in which we need rapid and complete recovery from excessive dehydration, 1.5L of fluid should be consumed for each kg of body weight lost. Consuming drinks with sodium will help the attainment of rapid and complete recovery of hydration status by stimulating thirst and fluid retention.

A practical example of the above guidelines would look like this:

A male who weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds) should drink 420-560 ml (15-19 oz.) two hours before training. A typical bottle contains 500 ml.

Figure out your sweat loss in training (such as 1.5L per kg lost in training/race). Let’s say our 70kg male had a pre-training weight of 70.38kg and a post-training weight of 68.75. He drank a 350ml bottle during training (1g/ml), so adjusting for this, he lost 1.98 kg in 90 minutes (1.63kg + .35kg). To calculate his sweat rate, divide the weight loss by the number of hours he trained: 1.98 / 1.5 = sweat rate of 1.32L/hour.

For recovery, our man needs to hydrate with 1.5L of liquid for every kilogram lost. Since he lost 1.98 kg, he should drink 2.97L in first hour or so after exercise. This would be approximately five bike water bottles, which often contain 500 ml (1000mlequals 1L).

Being dehydrated can significantly stress your aerobic system more than it needs to be stressed due to lowering overall blood plasma volume. This means your heart has to pump harder to produce the same effort because there is less oxygen available to your muscles. Just staying focused and having a hydration plan can optimize your fitness and ensure you stay mentally focused and able to hit those VO2 Max numbers in a race when you need to.

You put time in training and preparing for a great season. You dial in your nutrition. You have some serious goals. Hydration is vital to peak performance. It is not a side note or something to be taken lightly if you are serious about success. The only solution is to devise a strategy and stick to it.

Try setting your watch to beep every fifteen minutes to remind you to take big gulps from your bottle. Don’t wait until you are dehydrated to start drinking. Gastric emptying is slower once you’re dehydrated, which can lead to cramps and discomfort. The goal is to drink early and often. Big gulps increase the rate of gastric emptying, so practice this in training and be prepared to use these strategies on race day.

Make hydration a goal. It could be that last missing link to your success!