Proper hydration is a critical component for athlete training and competition, and at higher altitudes such as in the Rocky Mountains, athletes must drink even more fluid to stay adequately hydrated, and consequently, keep their bodies performing at peak levels. Higher altitudes mean lower air pressure, which results in the more rapid evaporation of moisture from the skin and from the lungs. Most high altitude areas are also very low in humidity, which means evaporation also occurs more quickly. The combination of those two factors means that the higher up an athlete is, the more fluid he or she needs to keep their body functioning properly.
So how much to drink? While Nathan recommends that athletes drink up to 22 ounces of water per hour, athletes should consider drinking more per hour during the TransRockies Run. And by drinking, Nathan means sipping, not gulping. Consistent sipping is important in ensuring the body is receiving an even flow of fluid, rather than flooding the body all at once. Proper and consistent hydration helps regulate body temperature, assists in delivering glucose to the muscles, helps remove toxins and waste from the body, maintains blood volume for muscle oxygenation, and speeds recovery.
So how can athletes stay hydrated when competing in an event that features nearly 20,000 feet of elevation gain and altitudes of over 12,500 feet? Nathan Performance Gear enlists a variety of hydration equipment options to keep athletes hydrated during the stages and in-between checkpoints. For those who like their hands free and their packs light, Nathan offers the HPL 020 and Intensity paks, both of which feature a two-liter hydration bladder with filter-compatible screw-top closure and bite valve; a three-way propulsion harness that eliminates bounce; and lightweight, breathable Wall Mesh with soft perimeter binding that feels great against skin and won’t damage technical apparel. New for 2009, Nathan’s Synergy pak features a dual-chambered bladder that carries nearly three liters of fluid total, and a potency dial that allows the athlete to control the intensity of the drink – all water, all electrolyte drink mix, or a combination of the two.
In addition to its paks, Nathan also features a variety of belts, including the Trail Mix. Keeping with the one-handed removal and replacement that road racers and triathletes love, Nathan took some of its favorite elements of the Speed series and combined them with enhancements for speed on the trails, including two stock cords with one-pull tension lock for jackets or gloves, a mesh pocket for small essentials or trash, and two 10 oz Flasks that fit in molded holsters.
Regardless of how an athlete stays hydrated, above all else, Nathan encourages all athletes to know their bodies, know their surroundings, and know the race conditions before undertaking an event like the TransRockies. For more information on proper hydration and Nathan products, please visit www.NathanSports.com.