Let’s talk about SALT baby!

Sorry, lame title but I can’t resist. This week has been a long recovery week for me, after the longest run of my life in more ways than one. I ran 14.1 miles and now know that I had a major salt depletion issue.

Well, major to me, not like a coma or anything.

Let’s hash it out. I ran the first 8 miles with a friend , felt generally good and hydrated, etc. It wasn’t terribly hot. Hell, to my NC blood 70 and *only* 80% humidity was kinda nice. I went down hill as the run went on, (and I mean that completely figuratively because it was quite literally uphill the last few miles.) Over the 14 miler, I consumed 6 Fuel Belt bottles (60 oz total), 4 of water and 2 of Gatorade (in the first hour). I had two Gu Gel packets.

On the run, I felt like crap during the last 5 or so miles, but thought it was the hills. I didn’t like that I ran out of water, but I also didn’t feel dehydrated. (In a stroke of luck, I actually ran past Scott driving and could refill two of my bottles!) I finished, a mile less than I aimed for, which was a bummer. But I was totally, totally spent. I hopped in the shower and, while sudsing up my hair, had to hold on to the side of the tub and had my first real “uh, something’s not ok here” thought. I rinsed, didn’t condition or brush my hair or moisturize, just laid down in my towel. I was nauseous, exhausted. I kept trying to rebound, thinking I just needed to eat or drink more Gatorade but it just kept making me more nauseous.

And then I threw up, and I knew something was wrong. I took the rest of the day slow, but the surprising thing, I sorta took the rest of the week slow. I’m literally still feeling Sunday today. On Friday.

I talked with my nutritionist about this and she confirmed that it was most likely a salt deficiency. She said with a run of this distance, I should aim for 300 mg/hour, minimally (though 450/hour is the ideal). With the gatorade and Gu, she estimated I probably had 320 mg on the whole run, about 500 mg short.

Here’s the goal amounts/hour, as I talked about in my Half Marathon fueling:
45 g carbs/hour
450 g sodium/hour
24 oz water/hour

Lesson learned. Salt, when running, is a BFD. Even though logically I’m still confused that it came out on a 14 mile run, when I’ve done a 13 mile run and it’s not *that* much more… I’m pretty convinced this was my issue. And it’s serious, and I have a seriously complicated fueling plan for tomorrow’s ::gulp:: 16 miler.

Things get tricky fast, since I can only carry 40 oz on me with my Fuel Belt. I think I’ll be able to take all the GU and salt sticks without issue. For this run and all of my long runs that will follow, return trips to the car will most likely be the way to refill the bottles. (Tomorrow the plan is to bump up the 40 min time to 30ish, and refill two bottles then, and refill at aroung 140 as well.)

I assumed an 11:00/mile pace and approx 2:50something total (Hey! just like Paul Ryan’s marathon time!! Bhahahaha. Sorry.)

Time Fuel
Start 1 Salt Cap
20 8 oz Gatorade
40 8 oz water + Gu
60 (1 hour) 8 oz water + Salt Cap
80 8 oz water + Gu
100 8 oz Gatorade
120 (2 hour) 8 oz water + Gu + Salt Cap
140 8 oz Gatorade
160 8 oz water + Gu
180 (3 hour) 8 oz Gatorade

Um, Holy Crap, this is complicated, am I right? I knew I’d have to learn this stuff and figure out fueling, but Sunday’s awfulness really cemented the urgency. I literally can’t do that again, and there’s no way anyone would ever want to run a marathon if it feels like that. Thank God I know that now, because I was all doubty and negative for a few days.

So yeah… hopeful that tomorrow’s run blow’s Sunday’s out of the water 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Let’s talk about SALT baby!

  1. The more I learn from you about running, the less I want to do it! Not that you’re not inspirational, just that it sounds so complicated and like a big investment in education and equipment – aside from the running itself!

  2. great post. I haven’t experienced anything like that thus far – 16 and a bit is my furthest – I actually drink almost nothing and eat just a few fruit snacks!! I never, EVER run or eat on 13 or less. WEIRD! Bodies are SO WEIRD!!!! Good luck this weekend – you will rock it!

  3. Pingback: My Salty Run | McBlog 2.0

  4. Pingback: Strategery on the Marathon | McBlog 2.0

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