Sunday, April 19, 2009

The long run, the meet-up and the salt problem

I don't usually blog about specific runs anymore, but I had an interesting experience today and wanted to share it in hopes of getting some advice.

I did a 16-mile run this afternoon. I ran the 6.5 miles downtown to meet a friend to run around the downtown area. We ran about 3 miles and then I ran the 6.5 home for a total of 16. It was so neat to run to meet someone rather than driving. I felt very environmentally friendly today. I even stopped to hug a couple of trees along the way.

I made good time, too. I did 16 in 2:21, which is just under a 9-minute pace, and I only stopped to cross intersections. If I kept that pace for another 10 miles, that'd put me under a 4-hour marathon. Probably couldn't keep it up, but that sure feels nice to say.

So, here's where I can use your wisdom/advice. I've been taking salt tablets because I've come home "ashy" after long runs. I didn't have the problem the last time I was training, though it was during the winter.

I've been taking the Hammer Endurolytes. The bottle recommends taking 1-3 pills before and then each hour during the run. I took 3 before I started and then 3 more an hour into the run.

When I got back today, I was completely caked with salt on my face. It's never been that bad before. I practically looked like a ghost. I didn't have any cramping issues or light headedness, so that's good, but I'm becoming a bit concerned that I'm losing so much salt, especially after taking the salt tablets.

If you've had this problem before, what have you done that's worked? Should I modify my diet to include more/less salt? Take more or less tablets more or less often? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Mel-2nd Chances said...

this is what happened to me today!!! I think this is possibly what caused my cramping too, as I didn't take any salt tablets during my run today, but yep, had the caked on salt too. I also don't remember this from last year. Weird! I'm looking forward to hearing what others say!

Awesome job on the 16 miler!!

ShirleyPerly said...

First of all, nice 16-miler!

On the salt thing, I wonder if it's because you're taking in too much salt and so your body is trying to get rid of it (as in when you drink too much, you pee more often). When I take salt caps, I don't notice that I have more salt residue on me, just less proneness to leg cramps.

Marlene said...

The whole salt/electrolyte thing is baffling to me. I've never taken salt pills (or anything beyond gatorade) and I'm never particularly salty. Sorry, no advice... just wanted to say congrats on a great run!

Petraruns said...

I'm really interested to hear what people say because I have recently found my hair caked with salt which has never happened to me before. I think I have a very low salt diet and do, in fact, intend to take endurolytes in London as it is projected to be warm and I felt some cramping during my last 20 miler... I'm following the comments.

Neil said...

No advice here, just my personal experience: I have come back from many runs with salty film on my skin but have not noticed a correlation between that and performance. For me, higher air temp = more salt film. My typical long run fuel regimen is Gatorade, water, and GUs; I have trained during the summer for several marathons and have never taken salt or electrolyte pills. But of course on those long, hot runs I assume I am losing more fluid and electrolytes, so I am taking in more gatorade than I would on a cold day.

Great run and keep up the good work!