The 2008 Olympics presented many challenges, which for endurance athletes mainly featured the extreme Beijing average August daily temperature (31[[Unsupported Character - and #8304;]]C) and humidity (75% hum), coupled with the chance for significant air pollution and possibilities for poor water and food quality. In conjunction, the 50km race-walk is one of the most metabolically challenging Olympic events, as energy expenditure is ∼3600 kcals during the ∼4hr race.
PURPOSE: This thematic poster will highlight several key nutrition and hydration interventions that were tested and implemented with an Olympic 50km race-walker prior to and during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
METHODS: This veteran race-walker (43yrs, 180cm, 67kg) was making his 5th Olympic appearance over an 18 yr international career. Hydration and fuel testing was longitudinally conducted prior to and throughout the 10-day pre-Olympic training camp in Singapore, and implemented into the 50km race-walk final, and featured: daily weigh-ins, hydration tracking (via urine specific gravity) and sweat rate and fluid consumption in anticipated weather conditions. Race day nutrition was directly measured since athletes compete on a closed 2km loop with country aid stations.
RESULTS: During the 10-day camp, the athlete's daily weight (67.5±1.6kg) and hydration status (1.012±0.006 g/ml) were relatively stable. During several key training sessions, in anticipated weather conditions, individual sweat rate was 1767±208 ml/hr and practiced carbohydrate (CHO) and fluid intake were 67±14 g CHO/hr and 947±276ml/hr, respectively. Race day presented hot and humid conditions (10AM, 29C, 55% hum), and the athlete's directly measured intake during the race was: 1200ml/hr of fluid, 74g/hr CHO, 1120 mg sodium/hr and 100mg caffeine/hr.
CONCLUSIONS: The pre-Olympic camp allowed this athlete many of the comforts of his normal Western culture, a similar time-zone to Beijing, and the required 10 to 14 days needed to allow for optimal physiological heat and jet-lag acclimation. On race day this athlete had a drink profile and plan with which he had much experience and confidence in. This allowed for all his CHO, fluid, electrolyte and caffeine targets to be met with minimal GI side-effects and only a 2.6% body weight loss on race day.