Drink to Thirst? Hah! It Doesn't Hold Water.

While strolling through Youtube recently, listening to a little Juke Box Hero by Foreigner,,  I found this below:

“At my school in 5thgrade, some IT guy was leaving the school, so my class wrote a parody of this song called ‘Macbook Hero’ since he fixed the Apple Macbooks my school used.  The entire 5th and 6th grade classes sang it to him.  It was truly epic.” 

Following that, another poster noted, “He was a juice box hero!”

A big vote for originality!


Need a long day 2000y challenging work out?  Try this.  After a good warm up, we'll swim 4 X500, each 500 broken into 125's. Now this can be swum two ways.  The first time you try it swim the first 125 in the first 500 fast, next three easy.  The second 125 in the second 500 fast, 1,3,4 easy.  In the third 500, the third 125 fast, etc.

Then, next time you try this set, and you're feeling frisky, swim buddy Colin says, "In the first 500, swim the first 125 fast, 2-4 easy.  In the second 500, the first and second 125's are fast, 3 an 4 easy.  In the third 500, swim 1, 2, 3 125's fast, etc.  

Easy and fast are relative terms.  You want to be able to finish each 500, as well as finish the 2000y set, so set your pace accordingly.  When you finish, there's a real sense of accomplishment.

Drink to thirst. It's all the rage you know. Maybe they first heard it on American Idol

I could dazzle you with statistics.  Suffice it to say that a single hydration strategy is ineffective in the world of triathlon.  The only way for you to know what works best for you is to try various methods in training.  Try different strategies in shorter races.  I know more than one person who brings a bathroom scale to races, gets an accurate weight before the start of the event and also before the post-race (beer) rehydration recording both. The overly simple drink to thirst may indeed work for many, but it absolutely does not work for all. Two Kona veterans, obviously experienced in the sport, come to mind.  

One athlete, his sixth time in the Hawaii race, got to mile 95 on the bike and it was "either sit down or fall down.  I was dizzy to say the least."  He got this far on the bike, stopped at the mini med tent where Nurse Alice sat him down with a big glass of cool water.  30 minutes later, after his 3rd glass, he felt great, thanked Alice profusely and finished race. The next year he took a bouquet of flowers to the Kona hospital operating room where she worked to say thanks again.

Our 2nd athlete, with only one Kona slot available and a faster runner behind him as he approached the finish of what could be his first ticket to Hawaii, notes "I was pushing hard."  He won the age group and Kona slot.  "You can see that guy in my finisher's photo. He was 11 seconds behind me."  Looking a little grey, then a little light headed, he made the med tent and was immediately hooked up to an IV.

If it's assumed that those that qualify for Kona might be the most experienced in our sport what do the Kona qualifiers do?  It's an either/or question right?  Leave it to triathletes to come up with a third option of course.  So, this past October, 14% said they drank by thirst and 70% use a pre-race designed plan.  This leaves 16% who told us "both."  Thus, despite the teaching and preaching of a number of authorities, this group, which might be the finest and fittest on the planet that particular day have learned - likely though screwing it up - that for them some type plan will give them the highest chance of doing well in the endurance triathlon environment. 

Susan Lacke of Triathlete Magazine wrote the following:

Drink to Thirst or Drink on a Schedule?


"Drink to thirst is a recommendation that works for the slower athlete.  If you are going a bit faster it is better to go with a plan.  It is good to use early parts of a race is working fine to absorb both carbohydrate and fluid.  Later in the race, even though you may be thirsty, the gut may not absorb as much.  Don't drink excessively and use common sense.  The goal should be to lose a little weight (2 to 4 pounds) at the finish line. You definitely want to avoid weight gain, which clearly would be a sign of drinking too much.  In hot environments dehydration can definitely be a very important factor. Don't forget that good hydration starts before the race, and hydrate well in the days leading to your race."

Enough said.

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