Find out if you are sweating too much
During your races, you probably sweat a great amount. Not only are you losing water through your sweat, but you are also losing important salts that your body requires for proper functioning. The question is: Are you sweating too much?
Your body needs to function correctly in an intense race.
You can be rehydrating, or drinking as much water as much as you can during a race to replenish your water losses, but you might not be replenishing your salt losses as much, or at all.
Salt Rate Protocol
A simple test to figure out how much salt you are actually losing is a Sweat Rate Protocol or Sweat Rate Test (from the CrossFit Endurance Trainer Seminar).
- Weigh yourself naked
- Conduct a 1 hour time trial in a temperature controlled environment at goal race pace
- Weigh yourself naked again
- For every 16 oz of water consumed during the test, subtract 1 pound
- For every pound of weight lost in the test, you lose:
220mg of Sodium
63mg of Potassium
8mg of Magnesium
16mg of Calcium
For Example, I did the Sweat Rate Test on a rower in a cool environment in a gym.
1 hour time trial:
Sweat test results
I lost 1.8 pounds; I didn’t drink any water during the hour.
My total electrolyte losses were:
396mg of Sodium
113.4mg of Potassium
14.4mg of Magnesium
28.8mg of Calcium
With those numbers calculated, I now have a baseline of what I’m losing in these set of conditions. Of course, out on the race course, the conditions will be very different.
I know when it is going to be 30, 40, or 50 degrees warmer and more humid, my electrolyte replenishment will have to go up, and it will be up to me to play around in my training workouts how much I’ll need to take during the race.
There are a lot of great products out there you can experiment with that have the same ratios of Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium included. Here’s a blog post I found on the best and worst electrolyte replacement drinks around. Understand, I am not promoting or being compensated for any of these products mentioned in that blog post.
Go and try the ones mentioned in the above blog post link or try some others you have found and researched on your own in the market. See what works and what doesn’t work for you on your training runs, rides, and workouts; once you have figured out the proper hydration/electrolyte protocol for yourself, begin to implement this strategy during your race.