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How to Avoid The Porta Potty During a Race
Your Pre-Race Hydration Plan Is The Secret
By Mike Mathewson

We've all seen it and most of us have done it ... 30 minutes (or less) into a race athletes are already looking for a porta potty. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. The secret is a proper hydration plan before the gun goes off, and here's how you do it.

First, you want to make sure you are properly hydrating the day before your event. You want to drink plenty of fluids but you don't want to over hydrate. If you drink to the point that your urine is completely clear this is a sign that you are drinking too much. Completely clear urine means that you have already peed away many of your critical minerals and electrolytes. This can put you at risk of hyponatremia which is very dangerous and potentially life threatening (see more info below). Ideally you want your urine to be a very light yellow (sorry to be graphic). The goal is to go to bed completely hydrated.

During the night your body will use some of those fluids for basic body functions so in the morning you will need to top off your systems. Get up at least 90 minutes before your event (preferably 2 hours) and drink about 24 ounces of water along with what ever light snack you prefer .... and then STOP DRINKING!

The water that you just consumed will take a while to absorb, but it will be more than enough to fully re-hydrate you. Your body won't need all of it and this will leave time for the excess to make it's way to your bladder where you can get rid of it.

If you follow this plan you will hit the starting line fully hydrated and your bladder will be completely empty. You can drink 4-6 ounces just before the gun goes off (with an energy gel is a great idea), but if you drink too much then your body will not be able to absorb it (it takes and hour to absorb 30 ounces), and it will end up going to your bladder.

The one catch to this plan is caffeine. Caffeine promotes urine production, so if you get up in the morning and have your favorite caffeinated beverage all bets are off. For those that prefer to use caffeine on race day we recommend using it very late in the race when you really need that mental lift. This also reduces the chance of dehydration problems associated with the caffeine.


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