Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

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Clell
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Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by Clell » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:55 am

I experienced some slight cramping in my Half Marathon this past weekend.  I took in either water or gatorade at each station and had one Gu at mile 4.5. I didn't push the last mile or so since I have a Marathon December 8th.  The weather started off at around 48 degrees and I finished when it was about 60 degrees.  Due to the low humidity I may have sweated more than I thought.

I'm looking for advice on possibly taking an Electrolyte tablet during the marathon. 

efahl
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by efahl » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:05 pm

Race like ya train.  If you don't take electrolytes during training, then you definitely do not want to experiment during a race.  Stuff like Gatorade with its lots of salt can cause you to sweat like a pig if you aren't accustom to that amount of salt, so I'd avoid it at all costs if you don't drink it regularly on your long runs.

toughnessbucket
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by toughnessbucket » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:15 pm

I have used Hammer - Endurolytes with success and now use Salt Stick caps with more success during marathons.

Tinman
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by Tinman » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:06 pm

Clell,

First: You need to practice taking electrolyte tablets during key workouts. Run simulation workouts so that you have to test your ability to take-on electrolytes.

Second: I estimate that 90% of cramping is due to electrolyte depletion. It's amazing how quickly your can get rid of cramps during a race when you consume electrolytes. I mean 5-10 minutes and they are gone.

Some people lose more electrolytes than others during races. An example that most serious runners know is Dathan Ritzenheim. He was tested at the Gatorade Sports Science center in the NW suburbs of Chicago and they found he lost a lot of sodium, and he needs way more than the average Joe runner, which explains why he's had such lousy success in the marathon race compared to shorter races. Luckily, the mos recent marathon in Chicago that he ran was the first one he drank a higher electrolyte solution during the race, and he raced much better.

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Clell
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by Clell » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:26 pm

I will do that this weekend during my long run, and my next quality workout. I'll let you know how it works out. 

Also, I may have drank too much coffee prior to the race. I will cut back to just a single cup about 1 hour before running.

Thanks!

efahl
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by efahl » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:18 pm

[quote="Clell"]I may have drank too much coffee[/quote]

Wait...  What?  Is that even possible?

Clell
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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by Clell » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:44 pm

I liked your comment about "can one drink too much coffee?"

Here is my race report.

Weather was  a little warm, 63 degrees, 95% cloud cover, 8-10 mph wind for the first 14 miles out, wind at back towards finish.

I took a Gu with electrolytes before the race at mile 4, and at mile 22. I also drank some water at about mile 6-7 with 1/4 tsp of sea salt. (I do that some times on my long runs during the summer) 

I had ran 1:33:29 for my half marathon 1 month ago in 55 degree weather.

For this race I felt like my training of two big workouts per week had prepared me well.  However, I think I went out a little too fast.  16 miles was at 7:26 pace.  I wasn't fatigued at all and felt really good until about mile 18-19 when I noticed some slight twinges in my calf muscles and hamstrings. No cramps yet.  Just past mile 20 I was stopping every 400-600 yards to stretch out the cramps. I thought they would go away if I slowed down to maybe 8 minute pace.  The cramps became too frequent to even run a little. And I really felt so good stamina wise.  I decided to save my fitness for another marathon and just walked it in the rest of the way starting about mile 22.5 - 23.  I wasn't the only one who experienced the cramping.

I thought if I can hold this pace I'll get a 3:17 or so time, and if I have to slow down some toward the end I'll still get a BQ.  I think if not for the cramps I could have come in at 3:20 or maybe slightly under.

I'm hoping for 40 degree weather for the next Marathon.

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Re: Taking Electrolytes During a Marathon

Post by Tinman » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:33 am

Clell,

Thanks for the update.

Perhaps you could take more electrolytes? Try it in your future long runs and figure out if it works or not.

Take care,

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