Electrolyte balance and hydration
I am somewhat surprised each summer at how much better I feel after replacing electrolytes early and often during and after a long
Today is Monday. Saturday, I went for 17 miles from my home in Maple Grove to Otsego, where my folks live. Today I ran for 150 minutes through Elm Creek Park Reserve, near my home.
After Saturday it was very apparent that something needed to change in how I was training in the heat. My legs felt heavy, I had a foggy brain, my muscles were cramping, my heart rate was elevated higher than usual. I was not balanced.
Let me say this, the temperature was about the same both days (90 degrees F). There are a few differences that could have been contributing factors to my poor training session.
1. I was not as well rested Saturday
2. My nutrition was poorer on Saturday
3. I had no electrolyte drink on Saturday
The first two apply regardless of temperature but the third is magnified in the heat. We sweat electrolytes. If we drink just water, but don’t
replace the electrolytes we lose through sweat, we can become overhydrated.
So Sunday, after sitting through Despicable Me 2 with my two oldest, we made a trip to a running store in Maple Grove for some fuel. I stocked up on NUUN, Hammer Electrolyte capsules, Sport Beans, Stinger Waffles and Stinger Gels for the kids when they run with me.
Monday morning was nice as my bride of almost 11 years left me to get a little extra sleep (9:00am) – that’s late in my house. We went to swimming lessons, I worked for a couple of hours from home, then decided I would run. It was hot, but I was now prepared. I loaded up my Salomon Hydration Pack, filled a hand held with 2 NUUN tabs and water, plugged in my Lewis Howes “School of Greatness” podcast and headed out the door. Slow to start, I avoided the electrolyte drink for the first 1.5-2 miles as I was going slow (walk/jog) settling into a longer run. I went through 6 NUUN tabs in all, over the 150 minute run and felt great when I finished. I feel great now (a bit tired) too!
As a side note, I try to wait until 80 or 90 minutes into a run before I start using any type of fuel (Sport Beans, Waffle, etc). That is so I put off becoming dependent on simple sugar as long as possible. Fat is our most efficient fuel source. Also note that speed and fuel needs are related (the faster you go, the more fuel you’ll likely need). It is possible to increase the speed that your body uses its optimal percentage of fat for fuel. That’s for another post.
Jon Howard - 8 time ultra - marathon finisher
If you have questions or comments, please contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org