Pre Event Hydration
by Coach Matt RussI recently had an athlete ask me if he could “load” his body with water prior to an event just as someone would load carbohydrate. The answer to this question is “no” and “yes.” Your body stores carbohydrates in the muscles and liver as glycogen. This stored energy awaits utilization on race day. Water, however, moves through the body very quickly, as you probably have experienced. Once your body senses it has reached a point of hydration, it triggers the kidneys to move the excess fluid through your system. Any water you try to “load” would be quickly eliminated; if it was not, you would blow up like a balloon.
Although your blood volume can increase rapidly with fluid intake, your cells hydrate much more slowly. It can take up to several days to fully hydrate on the cellular level after being dehydrated. The implication is that, although you have been drinking plenty of water the day before a race, you could reach the start line still slightly dehydrated on the cellular level.
The solution to this is to pay particular attention to your hydration several days before an event. Hydrate often, especially during and after training. Clear urine is a good indicator although it may be affected by vitamin intake.
Matt Russ has coached and trained elite athletes from around the country and internationally for over ten years.
He currently holds expert licenses from