Even though rain and snow still fall from the sky in the Tetons, we hold out hope that summer is soon on its way. With the warm temperatures, it is important to adjust our fueling and hydration routines. Salt is a critical component to any warm/hot weather training.
Sodium (salt) intake is a confusing matter these days with searches leading to multiple schools of thoughts. Some claim low sodium intake is best, others encourage it. How do you decide what will work best for you? How much sodium do you need during training and racing?
Step 1: Determine your hydration levels and how much sodium you lose during a work out. One simple test is to pinch your skin. If your skin returns to its place, you are hydrated and do not need additional sodium. If your skin remains standing and pinched, you are dehydrated. Add sodium.
Step 2: Examine the fueling products you already use. Are they high or low sodium? Be aware that some products list only sodium chloride; this is not the true sodium because it includes the amount of chloride. You are looking for just the amount of sodium. Here are sodium levels of a few common products:
HEED: 39 mg HEED Enduralytes: 40 mg GU: 350 mg Salt Sticks: 215 mg
Step 3: Look at other factors. How acclimated to heat are you? What is your fitness level? How much water do you drink during workouts?
Step 4: Experiment with sodium intake during your training. Any workout over two hours should include some sodium intake. The personal question is how much.
Salt is essential to our bodies. As athletes, the correct amount of sodium will minimize heat stress and reduce muscle cramping. Pass the salt, please!