(From Facebook: E. Enriquez) Does everyone pee on their bike? And if you have to pee are you drinking too much?
Dehydration by as little as two percent can lead to impaired performance. Clearly, we all need to hydrate intelligently, but how much is enough and how do we handle the excess fluids?
1. No, not everyone pees on the bike.
The act of peeing while riding is a challenge for most athletes and can take some practice. It works for some, but doesn't work for others. If you choose this option, be mindful of other racers around you. Other options include stopping at a port-a-potty or stopping to pee in your tri shorts. Use water from your water bottle to wash off. While training, figure out which strategy works for you so you can be prepared on race day.
2. Drinking too much can be as much of a problem as not drinking enough.
Hyperhydration leads to problems with gastric emptying and fluids getting stuck in your stomach. It can also cause deficiencies in electrolytes. Pre-event over-hydration, combined with pre-race nerves, can create problems with excess urination on the bike.
3. There are currently three theories on how to regulate thirst and hydration:
- Drink based on thirst.
- Drink a prescribed amount hourly to stay ahead of thirst mechanisms.
- Train your body in a dehydrated state to adapt to race conditions.
4. Know your sweat rate.
This is one of the best ways to know how much to drink and how often. Doing a sweat rate test, on your own or at a testing facility, will help you learn your optimal hydration strategy. The test measures fluid loss during a training session, and helps you formulate your personal hydration strategy.
5. Drink more sports drink (or electrolyte supplements).
Drinking less water and more sports drink will help maintain electrolyte balance and mitigate the negative consequences of drinking too much water. Hyponatremia is a state where your blood sodium concentration is too low.
6. Race distance.
In longer races, you are more likely to need to pee during the bike. In fact, during an Iron-distance race, peeing one to two times on the bike is a sign of good hydration. During a one- to two-hour event, needing to pee would be a sign of over hydration.
Caffeine in many forms will increase the urgency and frequency of urination. Consider cutting back on caffeine consumption.