Tea: A Good Race-Day Beverage?

Q  Is hot tea a good source of hydration before a race? Is there a difference between hydrating with tea and water?



A Excellent question. First, all fluids count equally as a source of hydration with the exception of alcohol, which is a diuretic. That said, the answer depends on the following:

How much tea are you consuming before a race? A general rule of thumb is to drink 590mL of liquid one hour before exercise. A cup of tea might not provide enough and you may need to have a larger mug, or supplement with water.

Also, what are you eating before the race? I’m not a big fan of running on empty, and tea alone has no kilojoules. Adding honey and milk is a simple and often tasty way to ingest some kilojoules in addition to the liquid.

Finally, you need to be comfortable drinking a hot beverage before you run. I would test the tea in training to make sure it feels okay in your gut.

Don’t forget the health benefits of tea! Flavonols, or phyto(plant) nutrients, are found in tea and may be cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory. By all means, enjoy this health-promoting, delicious beverage, and remember that these benefits are seen with real tea, (black, green, or white) not herbal tea. Be selective in your tea choice, and to get the most out of the tea bag, let it sit for at least three to four minutes to extract the most flavonols from the tea bag.

Related Articles