If you’re going to perform at your best during The Pilgrim Challenge, you’re going to have to get your hydration strategy right for the 66 miles of epic running. That’s why we’ve partnered with Precision Hydration to give you expert advice and some free electrolyte supplements. Here’s their advice for how to nail your hydration strategy out on the trails...
- Don't just drink lots of plain water in the build-up to each day! You can end up diluting your blood sodium levels, increasing the risk of a race-ruining condition called hyponatremia
- Maintaining your blood sodium levels is crucial to performing at your best during an ultra. As well as maintaining fluid balance, sodium plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients in the gut, maintaining cognitive function, nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Sodium depletion can also cause muscle cramps and avoiding it could help you have a cramp-free race
- You'll be issued with a free tube of PH 1500 electrolyte tablets at registration. Just mix one tablet with ~500ml of water and drink it the night before your run to boost your blood plasma volume and help you start well hydrated. The tabs contain ~3x more sodium than typical salt tablets, which makes them ideal for preloading before an ultra. Learn more
- Drink another ~500ml bottle of PH 1500 ~90 mins before the start of each stage. Finish your drink ~45 mins before you set off to give your body time to fully absorb it
- Drink water and electrolyte drinks to thirst during each stage. As a guide, most runners will find they want to drink around 500-750ml per hour, perhaps half of which might contain electrolytes. Of course, the exact amount depends on the conditions, your own sweat rate and past experiences
- Everyone loses a different amount of sodium in their sweat - it’s largely genetically determined - so if you’re a heavy/salty sweater, you may find you need a stronger electrolyte supplement. Take our free online Sweat Test to get some personalised hydration advice on what to drink during the Pilgrim Challenge and use the code XNRG15 at www.precisionhydration.com to get 15% off electrolyte supplements that match how you sweat
- Feeling thirsty? Have a dry mouth? You may not be drinking enough. Try to respond to the early signs of thirst and not leave it too late
- Bloated? Fluid sloshing around in your stomach? Need to pee often during the stage? You might be drinking too much. Don't force fluids down if you don’t feel you want them
- It's likely you'll finish each day dehydrated to some extent and you’ll need to replenish your losses before you’re ready to go again. Opt for salty food and/or add salt to your meals after day one. Sip a 500ml bottle of PH 1500 if you feel particularly fatigued or if you’re suffering with cramp
- Research shows that drinks containing sodium enable better rehydration as it allows the body to hold onto more of the fluid. Asker Jeukendrup and Lindsay Baker (2014) concluded that if you want to rehydrate quickly, then you need to drink ~1.5x more fluid than you’ve lost - and you need to make sure there’s plenty of sodium either in or with the fluid to account for your salt losses too
If you have any questions about your hydration strategy for The Pilgrim Challenge, email James at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free one-to-one video call with a member of the Precision Hydration team.
Enjoy the journey!