Water Guidelines for Training Recovery

May 16, 2012

-Fluid replacement in and around meals:

By Coach Kaehler

Proper hydration is an important element of recovery from training.  Male endurance athletes can lose up to 10 liters of fluid per day, while women lose slightly less.  Daily individual losses vary depending on the training climate, as well as the length and intensity of training.  Water levels can be balanced through the water you drink, as well as the food you eat.  To optimize your recovery, you must consider when to replace your fluids, as well as how the fluids are delivered to your digestive system.  Here are some basic guidelines for fluid replacement in and around your meals.


Recovery from training is optimized when the body can devote most of its energy into rebuilding itself.  Avoid drinking liquids with meals as it requires the body to secrete additional digestive enzymes which slows digestion and reduces its efficiency.

When recovering from training, avoid drinking water 30 minutes prior to eating, and for about 2 hours after a carbohydrate meal, and up to 3 hours after a heavy protein meal.

How to rehydrate

When eating protein meals, include plenty of raw vegetables (salads) as they are made mostly of water.  With carbohydrate meals, include plenty of raw fruit as they too are mainly made of water.  The water in fruit and vegetables does not dilute digestive enzymes, so it is the most efficient delivery of water back into the body when eating.

One method of fluid replacement that I prefer is eating fresh melons as a snack in between meals.  Melons digest very quickly (about 30 minutes) and they are about 90% water.  The digestion of the melons slows the delivery of water into the bloodstream, which is easier on the kidneys.

Overall, ensure you drink enough water between meals, and increase your consumption of raw fruit and vegetables.

Proper and balanced hydration is a critical factor in optimizing your training and racing.

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