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Publication Detail
Hydration and cooling in elite athletes: relationship with performance, body mass loss and body temperatures during the Doha 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
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  • Authors:
    Racinais S, Ihsan M, Taylor L, Cardinale M, Adami PE, Alonso JM, Bouscaren N, Buitrago S, Esh CJ, Gomez-Ezeiza J, Garrandes F, Havenith G, Labidi M, Lange G, Lloyd A, Moussay S, Mtibaa K, Townsend N, Wilson MG, Bermon S
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Br J Sports Med
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PURPOSE: To characterise hydration, cooling, body mass loss, and core (Tcore) and skin (Tsk) temperatures during World Athletics Championships in hot-humid conditions. METHODS: Marathon and race-walk (20 km and 50 km) athletes (n=83, 36 women) completed a pre-race questionnaire. Pre-race and post-race body weight (n=74), Tcore (n=56) and Tsk (n=49; thermography) were measured. RESULTS: Most athletes (93%) had a pre-planned drinking strategy (electrolytes (83%), carbohydrates (81%)) while ice slurry was less common (11%; p<0.001). More men than women relied on electrolytes and carbohydrates (91%-93% vs 67%-72%, p≤0.029). Drinking strategies were based on personal experience (91%) rather than external sources (p<0.001). Most athletes (80%) planned pre-cooling (ice vests (53%), cold towels (45%), neck collars (21%) and ice slurry (21%)) and/or mid-cooling (93%; head/face dousing (65%) and cold water ingestion (52%)). Menthol usage was negligible (1%-2%). Pre-race Tcore was lower in athletes using ice vests (37.5°C±0.4°C vs 37.8°C±0.3°C, p=0.024). Tcore (pre-race 37.7°C±0.3°C, post-race 39.6°C±0.6°C) was independent of event, ranking or performance (p≥0.225). Pre-race Tsk was correlated with faster race completion (r=0.32, p=0.046) and was higher in non-finishers (did not finish (DNF); 33.8°C±0.9°C vs 32.6°C±1.4°C, p=0.017). Body mass loss was higher in men than women (-2.8±1.5% vs -1.3±1.6%, p<0.001), although not associated with performance. CONCLUSION: Most athletes' hydration strategies were pre-planned based on personal experience. Ice vests were the most adopted pre-cooling strategy and the only one minimising Tcore, suggesting that event organisers should be cognisant of logistics (ie, freezers). Dehydration was moderate and unrelated to performance. Pre-race Tsk was related to performance and DNF, suggesting that Tsk modulation should be incorporated into pre-race strategies.
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