Marathon Training 101: Electrolytes and Fluids

Marathon Training 101: Electrolytes and Fluids

Importance of Fluids

Water is important, but sweat is made up of more than just water! Staying hydrated means replacing lost electrolytes and nutrients. Most people get an average of 20-30 percent of their fluids from the foods they eat and most foods contain vital electrolytes and nutrients. If you are engaging in prolonged endurance exercise (over 1 hour), you may need electrolyte-enhanced fluids and additional nutrients.

A pound of sweat contains about 80-100mg of potassium and 400-700mg of sodium.

Finding an electrolyte replacement product that works for you is very important. We recommend doing a little research in order to find out which product will be offered at the aid stations throughout the race. The LA Marathon, for instance, has aid stations stocked with Gatorade G Endurance Formula Powder, electrolyte replacement fluid and Clif Shot Energy Gels. Use these products while training to see how your body responds. Recreating conditions and using products you will have access to during race day can help ease anxiety and prepare your body for an athletic endurance event.

Fluid Options

With all this information, the options for staying adequately hydrated can get a bit confusing. Below are some of the best choices you can make to fuel your body during a workout.

  • Coconut water

Filled with electrolytes, coconut water is like a natural form of gatorade. I would choose this if you were on the go and needed to grab a quick drink. To make it even more perfect, sprinkle in a little pinch of salt. After an intense workout, the added sodium will help replenish what was lost in your sweat.

  • Vitalyte (or powdered sport drink)

Powdered electrolytes with added carbs give your body a healthy boost when mixed with water. With no added high fructose corn syrup, you can have this mix in one water bottle, and water in the other.

  • Green Tea

With its high antioxidant levels and moderate amounts of caffeine, this can be a great way to hydrate, stay healthy and get a little extra boost from the caffeine. If you are sensitive to caffeine or avoiding it altogether, this may not be the best option. However, if you are an avid coffee drinker or you're trying to wean yourself off caffeine, green tea is a great alternative.

  • Water

It doesn’t get better than your good old friend, water! The best way to get an adequate amount of water is to filter regular tap water into a reusable container. I recommend a BPA-free vessel or a glass bottle. It is often easy to grab bottled water, but the implications on the environment are huge. Be conscious of waste that is created and opt for reusable containers.

  • Orange Juice

Carbohydrates are a crucial form of energy our bodies use during a workout. Not only does orange juice contain carbohydrates, but it also has high levels of vitamin C, potassium and folate. A fresh, peeled orange is also a great option. If you're running, be sure to dilute the juice. Orange juice is a great way to replete carbohydrates after a run.

Need a Blast recipe that will help hydrate you? Try the Thirst Quencher, a delicious and nutrient-rich Blast.

Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

one word: CELERY! a must for anyone in the ocean working out. it hydrates BETTER THAN WATER has potassium and can "stay in stomach" without a full feeling preventing that salty hungry feeling during surf session
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