At our house, we like to make certain things ourselves rather then purchase the mass-produced versions. I have written about my deodorant recipe and my wife has written about our homemade toothpaste. When it comes to training and racing, I know that hydration is key. I have found a DIY way to stay hydrated and avoid all the extra junk in today’s sports drinks- coconut water.
The idea was born from my amazingly brilliant wife. It started when my friend and I both quit playing baseball and decided to try a local triathlon. My wife suggested that I use coconut water in my water bottle on the bike. I liked the taste, so I figured I would give it a try. My friend went with the sugar-free Powerade. As luck would have it, we were both running together near the end of the race. I felt pretty good and was pushing the pace. My friend was having trouble and ended up tossing his cookies (and all the Powerade) on the side of the road. I am not saying that it was solely because of the Powerade that he threw up, but that image solidified my belief that coconut water is a much better, and cleaner, way to hydrate.
When I started racing, I just dumped coconut water straight into my water bottle. As the years have gone on, I have refined my hydration strategy. The way it stands now, I fill two water bottles half full of coconut water and half full of pomegranate juice. I mix in a bit of pink Himalayan salt. For my race bottle, I steep green tea in it overnight. My extra bottle I try to finish an hour before the swim start to help get the nutrients to digest (and to go through so I can pee one last time). During the bike portion, I pace out the bottle with the juice. I try to finish that with a few miles to go so that I don’t have that sloshing feeling in my stomach when I run. I have had no gut issues – knock on wood – yet.
For training, I have a long brick workout (bike then run) on Saturdays. I use a bottle of half coconut water and half regular water with green tea. I have recently come across some research that has me adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to my bottle. The oil is said to help endurance performance so I figured I would give it a try. I am not sure, at this point, if I have noticed any amazing benefits, but it is very refreshing. I plan to add a drop to my pre-race bottle this summer.
For me, simple ingredients are the simple choice. Why would I choose something with added sugars and dyes? By choosing coconut water, I am getting as much potassium as four bananas in a drink with only one easy to read ingredient. The results have been nothing but positive. Good things happen when you listen to your wife…speaking from expereince.