The Science of Endurance Sports

Remem­ber when you were in school, strug­gling with math, and won­der­ing when you’d ever need to know how to mul­ti­ply frac­tions in “real life?” Of course, we lat­er came to real­ize that under­stand­ing math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts helps us not mess up a recipe, fig­ure out the inter­est on our mort­gage and invest­ments, and deter­mine which car to buy.

In research­ing brands for our upcom­ing endurance-themed event, we found the word “sci­ence” pop­ping up. We got to think­ing about what sci­ence had to do with being an endurance ath­lete. Turns out, a lot. Whether you’re train­ing for an Iron­man, marathon, or 25-hour moun­tain bike race, there is a sci­ence to what you put into your body, what is required, for you to go faster, fur­ther, longer, and hard­er than any­one else.

Thanks to the folks at GU Ener­gy, we learned a lot:

  • Though wide­ly debat­ed, sci­en­tists have found that caf­feine does improve per­for­mance. Click here to learn more about why caf­feine matters.
  • The body does­n’t sense dehy­dra­tion very well, with stim­u­la­tion of thirst occur­ring after the body has already lost 1% of body weight in water.  Exer­cise per­for­mance decreas­es with as lit­tle as a 2% drop in body weight from dehy­dra­tion. So there’s a small win­dow for ath­letes to respond to thirst before per­for­mance is impaired.
  • The body needs fuel whether you’re on land or in water. Though you can’t chow down while endurance swim­ming, there are ways to get the car­bo­hy­drates need­ed to keep you going. (More on those next week.) Also, sweat is an indi­ca­tion the body needs to hydrate, but that reminder typ­i­cal isn’t there for a swimmer.

 The body is a com­plex machine and when you decide to put it through rig­or­ous tests with endurance sports, the best way to keep it fine­ly tuned can be a com­plex thing. On Mon­day, we’ll share with you brands that will make the sci­ence of endurance sports sim­ple to under­stand. One such brand we’re excit­ed to part­ner with is GU Energy. They have com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing endurance ath­letes with the prop­er tools the body needs on the inside so it can func­tion at opti­mum lev­els on the outside.