The simplified version is this: our bodies have salt and water in them, our bodies work best at a particular ratio of salt to water, and when we exercise, we lose both salt and water. Too little or too much salt and water can have negative consequences, as can having the wrong ratio. For runners who sweat a lot, runners who have very salty sweat, and for runners who sweat for a long amount of time, it’s possible that they’ll need to supplement with some form of electrolytes. Not having enough salt can result in cramps, nausea, and headaches, as well as much more severe symptoms. (For more detailed info, click here).
For me, I’ve found when it comes to running, most things are a matter of individual preference–electrolytes included. I’m not a physician or an Olympic runner (that’s my disclaimer right there), but that’s what seems to hold true. I’ve tried gels, gummies and jelly beans with added salt; I’ve tried electrolyte drinks; and I’ve tried salt tablets. I’ve found that some work better in some situations than others, and some brands work better for me than others. There was a whole lot of trial and error going on! I’ve also heard of athletes using things like pickle juice, those little packets of salt from restaurants, and mustard, among other things. I like my fuel and liquids both to have a little sodium in there, and when I need an extra dose, I go with salt tablets.
I like salt tablets because they’re quick and easy (no mixing involved–just take 1-3 tablets prior to or after exercise), and that I can get the amount of salt that I need without filling my stomach full of fluids. They’re small and easy to carry (they come in a small bottle, or toss a few in a little plastic baggie). After testing Replace SR, I was really happy with how well it worked. I do not run well in the heat (I slow way down and tend to feel nauseous), and this summer, I had many races over the summer where the temperatures were high, and some with exposed courses. When I took Replace SR prior to Pac Crest Half Marathon, and during Cascade Lakes Relay (which both had temperatures in the 90’s, as well as high elevation), I found that I was able to run stronger than I would have without the salt tablets, and I felt better while running. I only had to take 1-2 before the race, and Replace SR was able to slowly release electrolyte into my system. During CLR, one of my teammates started to cramp up after his second leg. I suggested that he take a few salt tablets, since he hadn’t been consuming many electrolytes, and he actually started to feel better not long after.
While all of this is anecdotal for you Run Oregon readers, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much salt tablets like Replace SR have helped my running (or at least helped me suffer less!).
You can reference coupon code RUN2015 to receive free shipping on your next order at www.electrolytereplacementtablets.com. Code expires October 31st.