Hydration on Ultra Trail
We all know that when practicing physical exercise, the more intense, longer and more adverse the environmental conditions, the water losses, mainly due to sweating, could cause dehydration.
These losses are not only made up of water, there are also losses of mineral salts (mainly sodium, among others), so it will be necessary to replace them to restore the water balance.
The main excreted ion in sweating it is sodium. Hence the importance of restoring it with a sports drink that contains an adequate amount of this mineral (between 490 and 1150mg per liter). It should also contain, to a lesser extent, other electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, calcium, ...) as it will be essential to avoid deficits throughout an ultra-resistance competition.
It is very common for athletes to drink a sufficient amount of drink but without sodium, which in addition to negatively influencing their performance, can cause serious health disorders during or at the end of the test (hyponatremia).
The water balance is essential for the proper functioning of our biological systems, any alteration can harm and even pose a risk to the person. It should be borne in mind that even dehydration of 2% implies a decrease in performance, and when it reaches 6 - 7% it can have irreversible consequences.
In the athlete, a correct water intake before, during and after exercise will help him to maintain total body water and avoid the consequences of dehydration: increased heart rate, increased body temperature, tiredness, cramps, vomiting, intense thirst , dry skin, tachycardia, weakness, ...
Hydration guidelines during ultra strength tests
The general recommendations To maintain proper hydration in ultra trail tests it would be:
During the previous 2-3 hours
Drink 500ml of water or isotonic drink.
During the competition
Drink 150-200ml every 15-20 minutes. As it is an ultra trail, you should drink an isotonic drink with a carbohydrate concentration between 4 and 6% (for each liter of water from 40 to 60g of carbohydrate). From 2-3h duration, sodium should be added between 500 and 1100mg per liter of drink.
After the competition
Drink abundantly every 15-20 minutes a hypertonic drink (drinks with a concentration between 6-8% carbohydrates and 500-1100mg sodium) or recovery (carbohydrate, electrolytes and amino acids) during the two hours after- competition.