Running, Triathlon
May 3, 2018

How To Determine Your Ideal Hydration Plan

When it comes to hydration there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

Sodium concentration.

Sweat rate.

Duration and intensity of exercise.

When you know these numbers, it’s easy to customise a hydration plan that will improve the quality of your training and recovery.

As a side bonus, you’ll also lower your likelihood of suffering from muscle cramps.

The subject of hydration is something I have been thinking a lot about over the last few years. Living in the tropics, it’s a constant theme among the athletes I coach here.

While the duration and intensity of exercise are easy to know and calculating sweat rate is relatively simple; determining the sodium concentration of sweat is a lot harder.

It’s also the most important.

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Sodium Matters

A 2015 study found that athletes who adequately replaced the sodium lost in their sweat finished a middle distance triathlon an average of 26 minutes faster than those who didn’t.

That’s substantial!

The sodium concentration in your sweat is largely genetic and varies greatly between people. We see athletes who lose from as little as 200mg of sodium per litre of sweat to as much as 2000mg/l.

I personally lose 1,249 mg/l which is on the higher side of things and I suffered from cramps a number of times throughout my racing career.

It’s impossible to nail down the exact point at which sodium (and fluid) loss through sweating becomes a problem for an athlete. But, it’s clear that when losses reach a certain point, the effects can be detrimental to your performance.

Your blood volume is gradually reduced as your sweat losses increase. That’s because sweat is drawn from your blood plasma. This increases the strain on your cardiovascular system, making it harder to pump blood to your skin to cool you down and to your working muscles.

Other issues such as a general feeling of fatigue and muscle cramps can also be experienced if losses go uncorrected for long enough, or if significant imbalances between fluid and sodium are allowed to occur.

Up to a certain point, taking in plain water is enough to mitigate sweat losses.

But, as those losses start to mount up, you need to replace sodium too to avoid your blood becoming diluted.

This is a potentially disastrous condition called hyponatremia, which can certainly ruin your race and, tragically, has even been fatal on occasion.

So, How Much Sodium Should You Take?

That’s the million dollar question.

And finally, we have an answer.

Today, I am pleased to announce that Coached has partnered with Precision Hydration to provide sweat testing to anyone in Singapore interested in establishing the sodium concentration in their sweat.

With this number, we can help you to customise your hydration strategy and improve your performance.

We’ll also be stocking their full range of hydration products.

Don’t wait, book your test today!

Book My Test


Head CoachBen PulhamBen Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personal training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.