How to Optimize Electrolytes in Marathon Running

How to Optimize Electrolytes in Marathon Running

If you are a runner, you have probably seen the amount of information on how to optimize electrolytes, that is presented by social media. You might have also considered that this information can provide a confusing or even conflicting message about your health.

So how can you know which information is trustworthy and which is not? This article will help to distinguish what is good for you and your body. We want you to run as fast as you can while enjoying it.

Here, you will find a simple explanation on why an how to maintain electrolyte balance based on scientific facts.

How are Electrolytes and Running Connected?

Firstly, we need to remember that water is very important for our health and sweat is entirely made up of water. When we refer to “stay hydrated,” we mean replacing the lost electrolytes and nutrients that our bodies lost during the activity.

Electrolytes are charged ions which have multiple roles related to the regulation of our body functions, not only during exercise but also during your everyday life.

So the electrolytes sodium and potassium are essential to regulate our body’s water balance during exercise: the levels of these electrolytes allow your muscle cells to retain the right amount of water. However, when we exercise, we lose electrolytes through our sweat, that is why, because sodium lost, it tastes so salty.

Although in a short race, the electrolyte lost is not considered a major concern, even on a very hot day, in long races in the heat, electrolyte lost can harm our performance. After this, you might try to rehydrate by drinking a lot of water, but you will not be consuming electrolytes which can upset the balance of electrolytes in your bloodstream.

The worst case might be that you suffer from hyponatremia where blood sodium levels are very low caused by drinking a lot of water during a long race in the heat. Therefore, keeping your electrolytes balanced is critical for both performance and health.

A lot of people get a 20 or 30 % of their fluids from the food they consume. Yet, if you do a prolonged endurance exercise, more than an hour, you will need hydration supplements and additional nutrients.

Benefits of Maintaining Electrolyte Balance

Even if you are not a runner, keeping your electrolyte balance has its advantages.

A study by Sanders, Noakes, and Dennis in 2001 revealed that “cyclists who consumed a sports drink with sodium in it during a 4.5-hour ride produced much less urine than those who consumed an equivalent volume of salt-free sports drink.” It was concluded that this was produced because they did not need to excrete too much water to balance out their sodium concentration.

You should bare in mind that your body can replace the sweat instead of adding electrolytes which already present in your body when the amount of drinking is closer in electrolyte concentration to the amount of fluid you are losing. This process might result in lower overall sodium levels in your blood.

In the case of potassium and magnesium ions as their concentration in your sweat is low, they might not represent a problem for you.

How to replace electrolytes

Firstly, you can resort to the well-known salt tablets which certainly are an option. But you can add electrolyte supplement for runners such as Eload Zone Caps or Eload Hydration Formula with all the essential electrolytes.

Noakes stated that modern sports drinks have a higher sodium content and that the electrolyte content of popular drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are at least “close to being adequate for marathoners.”

It might be true that sport-drinks are easy when you are racing but when you are replenishing electrolytes throughout the day, you may not want to consume great amounts of artificial sugars.

Better use Eload Zone Caps or Eload Hydration Formula. The product is presented in two version and also in different flavors. As regards Eload Zone Caps, they are formulated for cramp-prone athletes and heavy sweaters. Each capsule dissolves rapidly providing the correct physiological electrolyte ratios in a dextrose base to facilitate sodium absorption. You can swallow them whole or pour into your Eload Hydration Formula to improve the electrolyte levels.

The Eload Hydration Formula is a sports drink powder formulated to help endurance athletes maintain a proper electrolyte balance by replacing fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat. It contains physiological ratios of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It comes in a wide variety of flavors such as berry, orange, lemon, etc.

When to consume Hydration Supplements

We can state general guidelines for hydration for an exercise session:

  • Hydrating during a workout or a race if it will take you more than an hour,
  • If you are facing a longer event, then you should drink as you desire. Sometimes it is between 14 and 20 fluid ounces per hour. Plus, if you are running a marathon, you might consider taking carbohydrate fueling,
  • As every runner is different regarding sweating, you should calculate how much sweat you lose to know how much water and electrolytes you should be able to replace.

To sum up, it would be necessary to highlight that your electrolyte loss, as well as all fluid loss, might be higher in the heat. Luckily, this can be compensated by increasing in thirst that is why drinking to thirst in workouts and races that are longer than an hour should be a top priority. And if you add Eload Zone Caps and Eload Hydration Formula, you will experience a full electrolyte recovery.

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