Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lesson learned about drinking lots of fluids while exercising

The weather in Atlanta over the past few days has been very hot and humid.  I have learned a valuable lesson about keeping properly hydrated when exercising, especially when exercising vigorously.

Yesterday, I rode my recumbent bike with some friends on the Silver Comet Trail.  It was VERY humid.  I sipped water during the 30 mile ride.  For the last 15 miles we rode hard, and the harder I pushed, I became preoccupied with speed, and forgot to drink.  At the end of the ride I, and my buddies, were quite tired.  When I got home I ate lunch, and feeling very spent, I took a nap. I slept deeply for a couple of hours.  Little did I know I was building up dehydration in my body.

Today, I had scheduled a century (100 mile) ride in Cartersville.  I didn't sleep well last night and woke this morning feeling tired and unmotivated to ride.  Nevertheless, I showed up at the ride at 6:30 am feeling unprepared to go 100 miles, even though I have trained extensively doing 7 centuries so far this year.  This one should be a 'piece of cake' except this ride is very hilly.

I started about 7:00 am, and after about 20 miles, decided to do a shorter ride and skip the full century.  It was again very humid today with temps in the high 80s.  I struggled through a 60 mile ride.  At the end, I was very tired, more so than normal for this length ride.

When I returned home, I ate lunch and took another nap, but felt lousy upon waking.  My lack of a good night's sleep was part of the problem, but finally diagnosed the problem as dehydration.   Yesterday, I drank inadequate amounts of fluid on the ride, given the weather conditions.  Last evening, I did not adequately replace the fluids that I had lost during the ride.  This, I think, led to my bad mood, and trouble sleeping.  I woke this morning dehydrated and tired, never making up for the lost fluids.  During the ride today, I drank, but, again, inadequately for a hot humid day.

This evening I finally figured out why I felt so bad before, during and after today's ride.  Over the past couple of days I had built up a serious case of dehydration. After I drank LOTS of water this evening, I immediately felt much better.  The problem was that I was used to drinking a certain amount of water during my rides, but failed to adjust to the hotter, humid weather.  The dehydration affected my mood, and my performance during today's ride.  From now on I will drink lots of water before, during, and after my rides.

Dehydration is a health issue for all of us, whether we are athletes or not.  Keeping well hydrated will have a positive impact on our moods, performance and overall health. Valuable lesson learned!


Anonymous said...

WOW! Two cycling posts in the past couple weeks! Kinda reminds me of your blog a few years ago. Look forward to reading more.

Keith Ford said...

Do you like the hydration packs that Bike Nashbar sells?

Do you like hydration packs in general?

Howard Veit said...

Hi Keith,

The Bike Nashbar hydration packs look good for cycling and other activities like hiking. Since I ride recumbents hydration packs that rest on my back will not work. I use water bottles in cages under my seat. Some hydration packs do fit on the frames of recumbent bikes.