Electrolyte Needs for Endurance Athletes
Understanding electrolyte needs is a big topic among the endurance athlete community, and for those just getting started in events such as triathlons and marathons.
Low blood sodium, or hyponatremia is the main cause of muscle cramping, which every athlete wants to avoid.
But even more importantly, sodium is directly responsible for muscle contraction including maintaining your cardiac health and heart beat. So understandably, it’s very important to know how to maintain optimal electrolyte and sodium levels, because without proper replenishment, depleted blood sodium can be life-threatening.
So how much do you need? This is dependent on:
- how long you’re exercising for
- what you’re doing
- and the temperature and humidity level.
For example, a high level of humidity doesn’t allow sweat to whisk away from your body as efficiently, causing your body to keep pouring out sweat and sodium, which can make you hyponatremic.
When I work with a client to establish their hydration plan, I calculate their sweat rate. Check out my blog to learn how to do this: Staying Hydrated: A Step-By-Step Approach to Calculating Sweat Rate.
Watch this video to learn:
- The general rule for the length of time before you should replenish electrolytes, with variance depending on temperature and humidity
- The minimum amount of electrolytes to start with that you need to replenish every hour
- My product tips, snack and drink suggestions for how to get the amount you need during your event
Do you need help training for your event with a customized strategy? Check out my new program The Sustainable Sports Nutrition Academy, which provides a sustainable approach that’s based on science.
Are you training for an event and need help with creating a personalized hydration plan? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation, so we can discuss your particular situation and goals!