I was dreaming I was outside on top of the Empire State building and a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. I had to fight against a strong wind action-movie style to get to the door to the stairs. Crash! Boom! And then I was awake and it was pouring outside. It’s still raining and I can hear the trees cheering outside the window as I type. The National Weather Service says we get an average of 29.12 inches of rainfall annually. We’ve only had 7.6 inches since October, which is “the least for that period since weather service measurements began in 1871.”(San Antonio Express-News) Let the fact that I’m bothering to blog about rain speak to how desiccated we feel. I’m hoping for some puddle stomping later this morning.
So I came across this piece on hydration and electrolyte use on Alex Hutchinson’s Sweat Science website that I thought you might find interesting (if you haven’t already come across it). Hutchinson presents a study involving 18 South African Special Forces soldiers marching with heavy packs in temperatures reaching 112 degrees. They’re out for about four hours. Here’s the sentence from the study I thought you’d find interesting. “This confirms the now well-established finding that serum sodium concentration can be maintained during exercise without the need for acute sodium replacement during exercise.” I did not know this was well confirmed. Hutchinson says you can’t extrapolate this finding to ultras in the comments, of course. (So don’t get all excited or agitated.) He speculates electrolyte replacement during 4+ hour events might allow for greater effort over time in hot conditions. “I’m not sure what happens when you translate this to an ultra race, where your motivation to place as highly as possible might override your body’s desire to slow down. In this case, can taking extra salt allow you to maintain a harder effort before being cued to slow down by hydration limits? I don’t know, but this study certainly doesn’t rule that out.” The piece led to some fun discussion among us San Antonio runners — most all of whom take electrolyte tabs during training runs and races. Everyone agreed they helped ward off leg cramps– or treat them. There’s no science behind that popular notion according to Hutchinson, (I can post that info if you’d like) — just lots of runners swearing it works. I drink GUs Electrolyte Brew these days. And I don’t take electrolyte pills — usually because I forget them or they melt into a salty blob in the pocket of my hydration pack. You? I love how none of these studies can really be extrapolated to ultras.
Running: 60 minutes hilly