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Excessive hydration

Old 03-13-23, 10:45 AM
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rbrides
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Excessive hydration

When I follow the common suggestion to drink a bottle per hour while cycling, I have to urinate multiple times during my typical 3 to 5 hour rides. Obviously the human body sweats more in higher heat so perhaps the bottle/hour is only a summertime guideline. I ride in the 19-20 MPH group rides on the road and the equivalent (but obviously slower) on big gravel routes. Typical distance is 45-70 miles.

I realize this is a personalized concern and every rider will have different needs. I will reduce my consumption for the next few months and guage my performance and fitness, but I don't want to bonk!

So, to the wise, experienced and friendly BF members I ask; if you too have experienced this, how have you adapted your consumption?
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Old 03-13-23, 10:51 AM
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One bottle per hour is the recommended maximum intake, not a general requirement for all rides.

A little dehydration is not going to kill you, nor is it going to affect your performance on the bike.

Personally, I drink when I'm thirsty. That can be a bottle per hour on a hot ride, or maybe a bottle every two hours when it's cool. I've been doing 2-hour zone 2 rides recently, and I won't even finish one bottle.
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Old 03-13-23, 11:10 AM
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I was manning a water stop on a ride about 2-3 hours into it. It was 40-45F into a freshening breeze.

The fastest riders needed 1/2 a bottle at most.

The worst riders needed 3 full 27 oz bottles.

I weigh myself before and after rides. Gaining weight and/or excessive urination on a ride are a big warning for me. OTOH, I am fine with 1-2% loss on a 2-4 hour ride but rarely is it more than 1% and I never eat on such a short ride. So, a good chunk of that loss is glycogen
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Old 03-13-23, 11:35 AM
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I drink a bottle an hour when it's hot and I'm sweating. In colder weather, I drink to thirst and don't consume a bottle in an hour.

Hyponatremia is a thing. Happened to me on a really hot hilly century. In an effort to avoid dehydration, I drank too much and went through a period of an hour or so where even the smallest sip resulted in needing to take a piss.

These days, I monitor the color of my urine. It should be the color of straw. Darker, and I drink more. Lighter, and I drink less.
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Old 03-13-23, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
When I follow the common suggestion to drink a bottle per hour while cycling, I have to urinate multiple times during my typical 3 to 5 hour rides. Obviously the human body sweats more in higher heat so perhaps the bottle/hour is only a summertime guideline. I ride in the 19-20 MPH group rides on the road and the equivalent (but obviously slower) on big gravel routes. Typical distance is 45-70 miles.

I realize this is a personalized concern and every rider will have different needs. I will reduce my consumption for the next few months and guage my performance and fitness, but I don't want to bonk!

So, to the wise, experienced and friendly BF members I ask; if you too have experienced this, how have you adapted your consumption?
I think you've erected a one-legged straw man with the one bottle an hour thing. We don't know the air temp, the relative humidity, or even how big that bottle is. You are not in danger of water toxicity with that intake, but if I had to pee multiple times on a ride, I'd cut back. There are plenty of estimates of water consumption you can look up and, as brother Morse states above, a little dehydration won't hurt you. I think the most common recommendation is to keep losses under about 2% body weight for optimal performance, but I'd have to check.
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Old 03-13-23, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
One bottle per hour is the recommended maximum intake, not a general requirement for all rides.

A little dehydration is not going to kill you, nor is it going to affect your performance on the bike.

Personally, I drink when I'm thirsty. That can be a bottle per hour on a hot ride, or maybe a bottle every two hours when it's cool. I've been doing 2-hour zone 2 rides recently, and I won't even finish one bottle.
Thanks for sharing your personal habits. Good info.
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Old 03-13-23, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
When I follow the common suggestion to drink a bottle per hour while cycling, I have to urinate multiple times during my typical 3 to 5 hour rides. Obviously the human body sweats more in higher heat so perhaps the bottle/hour is only a summertime guideline. I ride in the 19-20 MPH group rides on the road and the equivalent (but obviously slower) on big gravel routes. Typical distance is 45-70 miles.

I realize this is a personalized concern and every rider will have different needs. I will reduce my consumption for the next few months and guage my performance and fitness, but I don't want to bonk!

So, to the wise, experienced and friendly BF members I ask; if you too have experienced this, how have you adapted your consumption?
TBH I haven't experienced that, but I've experienced the inverse. You know the first ride when it's 85/90/95 and you're still drinking like it was 65? Results can be pretty nasty.

Right now it's 50F outside, so when I ride for an hour and a half or two hours, I can do it on one 20 oz. bottle. In a few more months, that'll be two 24 oz. bottles, and I'll need to refill them after two hours. So relax about forcing fluids for now, but be ready to practice drinking when the temps top 70-75F.
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Old 03-13-23, 01:21 PM
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If you're older male it might not be over hydration that the cause of frequent stops. BPH
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Old 03-13-23, 01:44 PM
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Might be more the time of day you ride. And I'm guessing you ride early morning.

I urinate often from the time I get up till just before Noon. And I'm not riding a bike then. I usually start my rides about the Noon hour. And I'll drink 3 bottles on a 3 hour ride and not have to pee at all till I get home.

However on charity rides and other rides that start at 7:00 AM, I'll be racing for that first rest stop so I don't have to stand in line for the port-a-potty. Then after that I'm usually good for the remainder.

Possibly something else is up. Have you mentioned it to your doctor?
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Old 03-14-23, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
If you're older male it might not be over hydration that the cause of frequent stops. BPH
I considered this. But it occurs uniquely during rides when Im consuming so much extra to avoid dehydration.
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Old 03-14-23, 07:55 AM
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I wonder if adding a little salt would help someone "retain water"?

fwiw - I find cycling inhibits my urges. doesn't eliminate them. meaning if I was at home I might go, but on the bike I can delay longer
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Old 03-14-23, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I wonder if adding a little salt would help someone "retain water"?

fwiw - I find cycling inhibits my urges. doesn't eliminate them. meaning if I was at home I might go, but on the bike I can delay longer
Adding moderate amounts of salt doesn't have that effect, since urine production depends on the filtration rate in the kidney, which depends, in turn, on plasma volume, and salt will actually expand it more than plain water. This is not to say that a little salt in the bottle is a bad thing.
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Old 03-14-23, 10:13 AM
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If I go on a 2-3 hour ride I will take a nature call just before leaving (usually leave between 9-10am) and on the ride I'll drink two 24-oz bottles (48-oz) of water and not have to take another leak until somewhere between 5-7 pm that night. I should probably drink at least one additional bottle on my rides, because this is typical, but I feel fine. I do drink at least another 24-oz when I get home, or more if the Florida sun really beat me up.


That's summer rides, on winter rides I usually only drink one bottle.



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Old 03-14-23, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Adding moderate amounts of salt doesn't have that effect, since urine production depends on the filtration rate in the kidney, which depends, in turn, on plasma volume, and salt will actually expand it more than plain water. This is not to say that a little salt in the bottle is a bad thing.
One sign of low sodium is frequent need to pee; also hypernatremia hyponatremia can be shocking (I found out the hard way). It is important to understand that everybody's sweat is different, sweat rate, sodium content ... plus heat and humidity cause changes in sweat rates.

A short backstory: I do a lot of endurance and ultra events ... I regularly do 100 miles as a training ride. I find myself thirsty and drink a lot of plain water, more than the guidelines suggest. Over recent years, I've been getting a lot less sodium in my daily diet as we cook at home nearly every meal, and Frau Toad needs a low sodium diet. Additionally, I had moved away from drink mixes or kept the mix weak. I was peeing A LOT both on rides and normal daily life. Earlier this year, somebody suggested I research sodium for athletes. I've recently been increasing sodium intake on days with training or a race; for big events, I'm increasing sodium in the days leading up to the event. As a result, I've seen a decreased thirst for water all day and reduced my need to pee frequently.

On my recent ride up Mauna Kea, I only stopped for a pee twice over 7 hours from leaving our place in the morning and getting the the end of my ride. For reference, here's a thread on this ride: Ride Report | Mauna Kea | The Hardest Climb in the World

Lots of good information in this YouTube, and channel has more too:

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 03-15-23 at 06:46 AM. Reason: fixed typo: hypernatremia --> hyponatremia
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Old 03-14-23, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
One sign of low sodium is frequent need to pee; also hypernatremia can be shocking (I found out the hard way).
Did you mean hyponatremia (low sodium)? I got that once on a very long ride on a very hot day. It's miserable.
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Old 03-14-23, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Did you mean hyponatremia (low sodium)? I got that once on a very long ride on a very hot day. It's miserable.
Yes, sorry about my poor proofing .
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Old 03-14-23, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
One sign of low sodium is frequent need to pee...
It's actually a sign of the excess water consumption that gets an athlete into that hyponatremic state, not the low sodium per se. In fact, if one were able make urine fast enough to keep up with the excess water consumption, hyponatremia wouldn't occur, at least for a long time. Hyponatremia occurs with dehydration in people with various medical conditions that cause water loss and does not produce increased urine production under those conditions.
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Old 03-14-23, 12:55 PM
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Hypno got hypon?

what are the odds of that?
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Old 03-14-23, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
It's actually a sign of the excess water consumption that gets an athlete into that hyponatremic state, not the low sodium per se. In fact, if one were able make urine fast enough to keep up with the excess water consumption, hyponatremia wouldn't occur, at least for a long time. Hyponatremia occurs with dehydration in people with various medical conditions that cause water loss and does not produce increased urine production under those conditions.
My experience, including a night in the hospital on IVs, tells a different story. I am talking about endurance and ultra endurance events ... so I am talking about 'a long time'. My hospital stay was after a 12 hour ride on Zwift (failed vEveresting attempt), water was readily available and I was drinking as much as I wanted. But I wasn't including sodium in my overall hydration or nutrition plan. You're body is losing sodium in your sweat, which varies from person to person, and you need to replace some that sodium. Moreover, IME adding sodium back into my daily diet has reduced my thirst (I was drink more water than recommended) and I have less frequent urges to pee.

The vast majority of folks have too much sodium in their daily diet, but there are some of us that need more sodium to support our long rides and salty sweat.
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Old 03-14-23, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
My experience, including a night in the hospital on IVs, tells a different story. I am talking about endurance and ultra endurance events ... so I am talking about 'a long time'. My hospital stay was after a 12 hour ride on Zwift (failed vEveresting attempt), water was readily available and I was drinking as much as I wanted. But I wasn't including sodium in my overall hydration or nutrition plan. You're body is losing sodium in your sweat, which varies from person to person, and you need to replace some that sodium. Moreover, IME adding sodium back into my daily diet has reduced my thirst (I was drink more water than recommended) and I have less frequent urges to pee.

The vast majority of folks have too much sodium in their daily diet, but there are some of us that need more sodium to support our long rides and salty sweat.
I was not disagreeing with any of that, all which sounds entirely consistent with hypervolemic hyponatremia. I was only quibbling in a minor way about what actually causes the excess peeing under those conditions.

Including sodium in fluid replacement is important and has been shown to enhance performance, but hyponatremia/water intoxication still occurs regularly in athletes using electrolyte replacement drinks.
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Old 03-14-23, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I was not disagreeing with any of that, all which sounds entirely consistent with hypervolemic hyponatremia. I was only quibbling in a minor way about what actually causes the excess peeing under those conditions.

Including sodium in fluid replacement is important and has been shown to enhance performance, but hyponatremia/water intoxication still occurs regularly in athletes using electrolyte replacement drinks.
I see your point.

I noticed a change in my thirst and excessive need to pee when I got more sodium in my diet. My understanding (as a laymen) is that when too little sodium circulates in the bloodstream, the kidneys increase urine production until sodium concentration returns to a normal level. Again, my diet over the last couple years was getting to be very low sodium ... and that level of sodium is likely healthy for the normal person, but I'm not normal
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Old 03-14-23, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I see your point.

I noticed a change in my thirst and excessive need to pee when I got more sodium in my diet. My understanding (as a laymen) is that when too little sodium circulates in the bloodstream, the kidneys increase urine production until sodium concentration returns to a normal level. Again, my diet over the last couple years was getting to be very low sodium ... and that level of sodium is likely healthy for the normal person, but I'm not normal
Yeah, you're right, my renal physiology is rusty, and I was probably careless above. There are two things going on:

1. Plasma volume expansion is the main stimulus for urine production and this will happen independent of sodium concentration.
2. When it happens along with hyponatremia, as in excess water consumption, the kidney actively conserves sodium while excreting water, thereby working to correct the problem.
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Old 03-14-23, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I think you've erected a one-legged straw man with the one bottle an hour thing. We don't know the air temp, the relative humidity, or even how big that bottle is. You are not in danger of water toxicity with that intake, but if I had to pee multiple times on a ride, I'd cut back. There are plenty of estimates of water consumption you can look up and, as brother Morse states above, a little dehydration won't hurt you. I think the most common recommendation is to keep losses under about 2% body weight for optimal performance, but I'd have to check.
No we built that straw man together here, some of us. I hear that all the time on BF. I should call people on it, but I don't like water fights.

I have a riding buddy who'll do a 60 mile, 3000' summer ride and drink a half a bottle, cup of coffee at mid-ride. That'd be a 3.5-4 hour saddle time, say 70, still strong at the finish. I'd usually drink 2 bottles. I've done hot rides when I'd drink a liter/hour and still get dehydrated. I'm saying yeah, there maybe are estimates of normal consumption, but everyone's different.

I'm in your camp. I drink to thirst. The "drink before you're thirsty, eat before you're hungry" is for beginning riders who don't know what they're doing. Just ride. Take more water than you'll need and extra food. You'll figure it out. For higher precision than that, use a heart rate monitor and get used what your normal readings are w/r to effort. If your HR is too high, you probably should drink. If it's too low, you probably should eat. That works pretty well.
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Old 03-15-23, 06:54 AM
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I've done this, and it's been helpful.
How to measure your sweat rate to improve your hydration strategy
https://www.precisionhydration.com/p...ur-sweat-rate/

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 03-15-23 at 10:28 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-15-23, 09:52 AM
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While in general, I put some electrolyte in my bottles for every ride, I am much less than what Gatorade and other sport drinks contain. However in the Hyper vs Hypo debate, I'd say that electrolytes are really only necessary if you are consuming a lot of water in a very short time. Say maybe 5 bottles of just water in a very short time span. And even then that is a maybe.

Otherwise the body has it's ways to deal with things given time. And of course electrolytes are in many things we eat. However I don't typically eat while riding unless I'm doing a charity or organized ride with rest stops. Some that have some real interesting offerings when they have their own competition against other rest stops.
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