For sprint races and events up to the Olympic distance, fluid needs are of greatest importance to competitors, with sports drinks and water the most widely used fluids. Race organisers typically provide fluids at aid stations in the transition areas, and during the running leg. While those who are out for long hours in the heat of the day are reminded to stay hydrated, even top athletes should be warned about the dangers of failing to drink adequately while cycling or running. Chapter 4 explains that moderate fluid loss can reduce performance, and on hot days severe dehydration added to heat stress is a real threat to health.
Drinking pouches consisting of a pressurised sack with a plastic tube that runs along the bike frame and can be lifted to the triathlete’s mouth (e.g. the Camelbak) can provide easy access to fluid for those who worry about wasting precious seconds by reaching down to the bidon cage. Of course, in elite competitions suMore recent research has highlighted that some triathletes, particularly those competing in Ironman events can actually drink too much.
Some who do so may go on to develop the life-threatening condition hyponatraemia (low blood sodium). Female athletes who compete at the back of the pack in cold conditions are at most risk of drinking more than they lose in sweat. It’s important for triathletes to develop an individual fluid-intake plan for each race based on previous fluid-balance observations conducted in training sessions under similar environmental conditionsch as the Olympic Games, race rules may not allow the use of such devices.
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