Stay hydrated (and avoid spilling liquid all over your feet) with these hydration techniques…
Water is normally handed out in plastic cups from aid stations in triathlons, but they’re notoriously hard to drink from. Their wide opening makes the water slosh around and it’s tricky to get any liquid in your mouth. It’s easier when the cup is half full. Try squeezing the cup slightly, so you make a kind of spout.
Have a swift swill
Do you really need to drink? Are you dehydrated or do you just have a dry mouth? Thirst is your body’s way of telling you to drink water, whereas a dry mouth can be caused by airflow. Simply swilling water around your mouth is enough to get rid of a dry mouth and it’s a lot easier than trying to swallow it from a cup.
Walk it over
For full and half Ironman-distance races, a common strategy is to walk through the aid stations. This won’t cost you much time, but it ensures you get more chance of swallowing enough water or energy drink. For shorter distances, it’s better to keep jogging.
Smooth it out
As you pass through an aid station and grab a drink, try to reduce the up and down motion of your run. You can do this by shortening your stride and increasing your cadence. You’ll be less likely to spill your drink.
Sip it up
Take several small sips, rather than trying to down your drink in one go. Hold onto your drink for about 30 seconds or until you get around 100ml of liquid down you.
Take your chances
If you’re thirsty, grab some water at every opportunity. The chances are you’ll struggle to swallow much at any one time, so drinking little and often is best.
If you struggle to drink from plastic cups, consider using a fuel belt. They have two, three or four small plastic bottles attached to them and they can be filled with liquid or energy gels. They don’t hold much liquid, but are easy to drink from.
Words: Phil Mosley