1. PRACTICE WHAT YOU’LL DO ON THE DAY OF THE EVENT
Practice drinking the fluids that you intend to consume during the race in the same intervals and volume that you’ll use during the race—this will help you understand if you’re drinking enough to avoid dehydration. Losing an excessive amount of body fluids will compromise your body’s ability to cool itself, resulting in fatigue, impaired motor skills and heatstroke. Also, drink the right kinds of fluids in the right volume to avoid hyponatremia (an excessive loss of sodium that can lower blood volume and cause bloating, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation and poor coordination). It is impossible to drink the right kind of fluid in the right amount on race day if you haven’t practiced.
2. CHECK YOUR URINE OFTEN
A good indicator of whether you’re drinking the right volume of fluid is the color of your urine: The darker the urine, the greater the degree of dehydration. Your goal should be to produce urine that is nearly clear to light yellow—this is particularly important on the morning of race day to make sure that you start the race in a well-hydrated state. It’s also a good thing to check when you’re practicing your hydration strategy to make sure that your strategy works for you.
3. CHECK YOUR WEIGHT OFTEN
When you’re training, your body weight will often decrease. Get accustomed to checking your weight before and after you train. The difference in weight represents the amount of fluid you should have consumed during training but didn’t (one pint of fluid equals one pound of body weight). For instance, if you drink one pint of fluid during training but you’re still three pounds lighter after training, you have to figure out how to consume a total of four pints of fluid instead of one to keep your weight the same.
4. WORK ON GETTING AND STAYING WELL HYDRATED FROM THE MOMENT YOU GET UP
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you wake up on competition day, and keep checking your urine to make sure that it’s light in color. After your pre-race breakfast or snack (solid food consumption should be finished two or three hours before the event), keep sipping fluids every 10 to 15 minutes-right up until the time you start the race.