Swim, run, sweat, repeat: what’s your ÖTILLÖ hydration strategy?

Apr 25, 2017 | 0 comments

Andy Blow, Precision Hydration

By Andy Blow

Here at Precision Hydration HQ we’re all totally stoked to be joining the swimrun community as the Official Hydration Supplier of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series.

That’s partly because I’ve been lucky enough to compete in two ÖTILLÖ events – first at the Championship in Sweden in 2014 and more recently at the inaugural Isles of Scilly event last year – and I’m a huge fan of the Series and swimrun as a sport, which I got involved in for a change of focus after the more mainstream triathlon and Ultra running events – I have a few top 10 Ironman and 70.3 finishes, and an Xterra World Age Group title under my belt – started to lose their appeal.

My enthusiasm also stems from our product, which is such a good fit for both the performance and ethos of swimrun that we’re excited to help ÖTILLÖ racers to achieve their best possible result.

I founded Precision Hydration in 2011 after learning that I had a higher than average amount of sodium in my sweat, and that this had impacted my performance many times, especially in hot conditions (you can read a bit more about that story here). It turns out it’s important to personalise your hydration strategy and that the typical electrolyte drinks out there don’t contain enough sodium to enable most people to replace what they’re losing when they sweat, and therefore they can’t maintain their performance.

To help you better understand your own hydration needs, we’re putting together a series of articles over the next few months that’ll feature in Swimrun Life, to cover all sorts of questions about hydration and fuelling for ÖTILLÖ events.

To kick things off, we just want to introduce our products as they’ll be available to all competitors at Energy Stations on the course at every ÖTILLÖ race this year.

How Precision Hydration drinks work

Many athletes get that replacing sodium lost through sweat is vital but they don’t really know why. Maintaining the sodium levels in your blood is crucial to performing at your best. Sodium helps you absorb and retain fluid, which keeps your blood volume up, reducing cardiovascular strain when you’re exercising. It also plays an important role in muscle contraction, maintaining cognitive function and the absorption of nutrients in the gut. Fatigue and cramps are also common when significant fluid/sodium imbalances go unchecked. As well as maintaining fluid balance, sodium plays a crucial role in nerve impulse transmission. Basically, it’s pretty important.

Precision Hydration is hypotonic electrolyte – which means the fluids in hypotonic drinks tend to be absorbed into the bloodstream the fastest, but they deliver the least amount of carbohydrate per unit volume, in our case, 3% solution, or 15g of carb per 500ml/16oz serving.

Our products contain 8 all-natural ingredients and come in 4 different strengths based on the amount of sodium they contain.

As athletes lose different amounts of sodium in their sweat – from as little as 200mg/l to as much as 2000mg/l – there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to a hydration product for endurance athletes.

Our strongest drink contains 1,500mg of sodium per litre (32oz), which is 3 times more than typical sports drinks, and it’s particularly useful for preloading before a race and helping to avoid/reduce cramp.

To help you figure out which strengths are right for you, we’ve developed a free online ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Sweat Test that’ll give you a Personalised Hydration Plan specifically for swimrun events and tell you which products to pick up at the Energy Stations.

In a future Swimrun Life edition, we’ll dive into more details about how to stay hydrated during an ÖTILLÖ event. For now, we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions about your hydration strategy or what we do: hello@precisionhydration.com.

Andy Blow has a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and was once the Team Sports Scientist for Benetton and Renault F1 Teams.

Andy’s key points about sodium

  • Maintaining the sodium levels in your blood is crucial to performing at your best.
  • Sodium helps you absorb and retain fluid, which keeps your blood volume up, reducing cardiovascular strain when you’re exercising. Fatigue and cramps are also common when significant fluid/sodium imbalances go unchecked
  • Just drinking water when sweating a lot dilutes your sodium levels, which can really impact your performance. If you dilute your blood sodium levels too much, you’ll end up with a condition called hyponatremia, symptoms include headaches and nausea.
  • Stores of sodium in the body are finite, and can’t be manufactured, so any losses have to be replaced in your diet or through supplementation.
  • Everyone loses a different amount of sodium in through sweat, from as little as 200mg/l (32oz) to as much as 2000mg/l.
  • A “one-size-fits-all” approach to hydration doesn’t work. Most electrolyte supplements contain 200-550mg of sodium per litre (32oz), whereas the average person loses about 920mg/l. This means you’re probably not replacing what you’re losing if using a regular sports drink.
  • While this doesn’t matter so much during short duration activities, it can be very bad news when you’re out there for several hours, as during ÖTILLÖ races, and losses start to mount up.

Read more about importance of sodium

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 2 (Apr/May 2017)

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More magazine articles

A word from the editor

When I was in Hvar, Croatia; for the kick off to the ÖTILLÖ swimrun season, I popped my head into to hear Michael Lemmel giving a presentation on the history of ÖTILLÖ and the evolution of the sport of swimrun. My jaw dropped when he showed the cover of 220 Triathlon magazine with the headline “The Rise of Swimrun: The New Endurance Race to Rival Ironman?”

Race Directors’ Moment: a screaming start to the season

Only one team is left in the pursuit of one million Swedish Krona, but the boys in the Golden Jersey will be chased yet again by the top world teams at ÖTILLÖ Utö on May 28th. For an extremely intense course like this, the tougher your training conditions the better so that you can be ready for anything.

UTÖ: a tribute to swimrun

In 2013, Mats Skott and Michael Lemmel had more demand for the original ÖTILLÖ event than they could handle so they decided to do a qualifying race in late spring. It was a given that the first qualifier would be on Utö, as a tribute to the origin of swimrun.

ÖTILLÖ Legend #2: Navy Seal Joe

In 2007, a team from Navy Seals in San Diego signed up for “a new swimrunning race in Sweden. They arrived at Stockholm airport directly from a mission at an undisclosed location. Joe had been throwing up the whole flight. The next day, the pair were at the start and went for it.

Meet a World Champion: Kristin Larsson

As one of swimrun’s most exceptional athletes Kristin Larsson is one of a kind having won six swimrun races in 2016 and broken numerous course records. A mom to her three-year-old son, motherhood has not stopped her. In fact it seems to have made her stronger than ever.

Getting a-HEAD with the right swimrun

While everybody knows that swimrun originated in the Stockholm archipelago, it’s less known that the headquarters of HEAD Swimming, which produce swimrun wetsuits, is situated in the town of Rapallo, on the Mediterranean coast of northern Italy.

International partners
  • Head
  • Campz Addnature
  • Garmin
  • Vivo Barefoot
Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to Swimrun Life Magazine newsletter
ErrorHere