As paddlers keeping our bodies fully hydrated and functioning at our max is essential, but when the frenzy of race day arrives it can be easy to forget all about it and end up dehydrated and aching by the afternoon, or worse.
Taking a few important things into consideration before the race will go a long way.
First and foremost drink as much as you can over the 3 days leading up to the event and avoid diuretics like alcohol and coffee. You don’t need to be an expert to check your hydration levels a few times per day to make sure you’re in the clear. Coming into event day saturated will make life much easier and help you if things go south with conditions like a big unexpected headwind.
Next up, do some math. Find out what the race entails, how long you’ll expect to be on the water, any conditions that could keep the field out longer. The longer the race the more calculated you need to be, especially when accounting for delays from winds or currents. During strenuous exercise you can use from .5 to 1oz per minute, as most sup races are an hour or longer that’s a lot of water to consider.
Unfortunately, many people don’t take hydration seriously and end up endangering themselves and others; while also pushing organizers towards bottled water out of and necessity, this added to the sponsor dollars and “big water donations” have lead to events that leave hundreds of bottles behind.
Even folks not in the “race” need to be thinking about where they will get their next drink as they’ll likely be thirsty at some point during the event. We’ll all be thirsty at some point and ought to start thinking more about how we’re going to fulfill that need in the safest, most cost effective and eco friendly manner in our day to day lives.
Some companies and events are stating to turn the tide on single-use plastic bottled water with forward thinking solutions. This summer Plastic Tides has teamed up with SEA Paddle NYC, CLIF, and PathWater to provide reusable bottles and a refill infrastructure to meet everyone’s hydration needs. We’re asking paddlers to pitch in too though and do their best to come prepared with hydration packs.
So next time you head out the door for a race, or just your normal day, think twice about where you’re going to get your next drink, and stay hydrated!