Hydration/salt issues during 50K

  • Creator
  • #44069


    I ran a 50K with about 9000 ft of vert on Saturday. I was doing great until mile 21, when the sun came out and it got really hot. I started getting nauseous, and before I knew it, I didn’t want to drink or eat anything. I could barely move by mile 24, and when the course finally turned downhill, my quads were already gone. It was a very challenging last 10 miles, even at a slow pace.

    I was taking a couple salt pills every hour or so, and I had some electrolyte+carb mix (EFS is the brand), so I did have SOME salt intake at least. Maybe I wasn’t taking enough salt, or maybe I just needed to drink more.

    Questions for you all:

    Have you ever experienced a salt or dehydration issue similar? What did you do to solve it on the next race?

    Have you ever taken too much salt? What were the consequences?

    Have you ever taken too much water without salt and had issues?

    Any anecdotes or thoughts around this topic would be appreciated. I’m trying to figure out what went wrong for me so I can correct it next time.

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    briguy on #44149

    I’ll chime in since no one else has yet. I’m no expert on salt but I have done quite a few long ultra-type endeavors in some extreme conditions. And I live and train in the deep south where it’s hot/humid more often than not.

    I myself do not supplement with salt tabs. I rely on what is in the nutrition I take (gels and mixes) and that suits me just fine. Many of my training partners swear by salt tablets but the few times I did take them I experienced issues (usually mild – finger/hand swelling) and do not feel they added any benefit.

    I would suggest that your problems on that particular race had another cause, perhaps going out a little too hard/fast for your fitness at the time.

    Anonymous on #44381

    My thoughts are similar, but I’ve never used salt tablets. It sounds more like more of a pacing issue as @briguy suggested.

    Anonymous on #44392

    Your description of symptoms sounds a lot like heat exhaustion. Dehydration can play a role in that. I don’t know about salt idea. I’ve never used nor known of anyone taking salt tablets.


    Emil on #44401

    Too much water can lead to Hyponatremia.
    Too much salt – GI issues, or causing excessive thirst, drinking a lot and Hyponatremia.
    Salt and water excretion is likely variable, and heat adaptation may play a role.
    Tim Noake’s Waterlogged and this podcast might be interesting.

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