There are many factors in slalom canoeing that are out of my control. The weather, the course set, my competitors, etc. I choose to focus on areas that I can control – my training leading up to a competition, my mindset, fuel (what I’m eating), and hydration! There is no worse feeling than being in the start gate and feeling unprepared for something I had power over. Hydration is a really easy one to manage but is often overlooked and can have some devastating impacts on performance.
I know the feeling of being dehydrated all too well. A big training day with multiple workouts and it is easy to lose track of how much water I have had. There are times where I have been doing a couple hours of cross training like playing hockey or cross country skiing and had only one bottle of water throughout thinking it is replacing everything I am sweating out. Only to show up at the next workout a couple hours later with a slight headache, feeling weak or fatigued, and cramping up. This does not result in good benefits from either of my workouts.
These days I am much better at planning ahead. Whether it is for a multi-workout training day or a long race day spent at the river, I am prepared! I start out each morning with a glass of water. From there, I try to always have my waterbottle handy no matter if I am at home, at work, or out and about. This allows me to drink water continuously throughout the day. I can’t say that I am meticulous about enduring I empty my bottle 5 times through the day, but just by having it accessible I ensure I drink more water than I would without it. Where I am more careful is when I am training, I make sure I drink at least a full bottle of water during the workout, and then another one once I finish. Some days I even go for sports drinks during my workout if I know it will be a super hard one where I will be sweating a ton.
With the level of training I do, my body uses up a lot of electrolytes. I take a Custom Vitamin Formula from Nutrichem that contains a number of these electrolytes and helps me get ahead of the curve! Another way I manage these is by taking supplements like Electrolyte Rescue II. Taking it on the regular helps me ensure that I have enough electrolytes in my body to perform!
There is no better feeling that feeling prepared. When I show up to a workout well rested, well fed, and well hydrated I feel strong, I can focus, and I can perform on the water! Managing your hydration has so many benefits and at a low cost in terms of effort. Regardless of what you are doing or at the level you are doing it, ensuring your body is properly hydrated will help you feel great and allow you to push toward your potential!
Written by Guest Blogger, Spencer Pomeroy. Spencer Pomeroy is a Canadian Canoe Slalom athlete from Ottawa, Ontario.