I’m not sure about you, but I have a little bit of a water addiction. I know the word out there is to “drink more water!”, but seriously, sometimes I have to tell myself to stop drinking so much water. In fact, there were a couple of weeks lately where I kept feeling slightly off with nothing to attribute it to until I realized how many ounces of water I was taking in versus my naturally low sodium intake. I was definitely lacking in electrolytes, bordering on hyponatremia. It’s a really good thing I figured that out before anything bad actually happened to me.
It’s a difficult balance between dehydration and hydration on hot summer days, especially when exercising. How much is enough water? How much is too much? Is drinking while running going to cause a cramp? Is not drinking enough while running going to cause a cramp? Yikes.
I am still trying to get used to running with a water bottle. On shorter runs, I might not bother bringing one along because I know I’ll be home soon and I hydrated earlier in the day, but on longer runs I have to remember to bring something and to continue to drink it steadily throughout the run to stay in balance. One other tricky thing is that water alone is not enough, it needs to be balanced with some sort of electrolyte to make it effective.
On my journey to clean eating, I gave up so many processed, convenience foods that naturally my sodium intake level dropped significantly, without even trying. I now have to consciously salt foods throughout the day to keep up with my water intake and how much I exercised that day. After my 10k, I even just ate a packet of salt to replace what I had lost. I know you may be thinking, just drink gatorade or any other sports beverage and you’ll be fine, but I am not a fan of some of the ingredients they use and would rather get my electrolytes in a more natural form. A good measurement to go by is 1/4t of salt for every 16oz of water you drink.
Awhile back, Kinley found a recipe by Daily Garnish for a Homemade Sports Drink which I now like to take out with me as my mileage is getting higher and the sun is getting hotter. Instead of sticking right to that recipe, we typically just use salt, a squirt of lime or lemon juice and some agave nectar to make it even more natural but just as effective. I have to admit however that I have not been successful at making it Kinley’s way (she is much more the eyeball measurements type of mixer and her guesses on the amounts have not turned out for me – so I ask her to put it together for me!). But as long as there is some salt and sugar/agave in the mix, your body will thank you and be able to recover faster than just drinking water. Make it as sweet or salty as you like by tweaking the ingredients.
Naturally Clean Sports Drink
- Salt (1/4t for 16oz water)
- Lime or Lemon Juice
- Agave or Honey
Moral of the story, drink water, but not too much. However, I am not a nutritionist by any means so if you have serious concerns with your electrolyte balance during long runs, please seek out a professional for advice. Happy Summer Running!