Running Salty

An unexpected visitor showed up on my doorstep today in the wee hours of the morning.  She gave me a wicked grin and came with her usual baggage of cramps and bloating. I dulled her effects with a dizzying array of pain medication, tea, and a heating pad.  Finally, around 7AM I sent her packing and went back to bed only to find her back on my doorstep when I woke up.  Monthly visits from Aunt Flo are never fun.

If you exercise often, Aunt Flo’s effects won’t be as bad but as evidenced I’m obviously out of shape and her visits bother me more than ever.  I need to learn to walk off the pain and not turn to my vices.  Pain medication is never a good solution and should only be used when absolutely necessary.

The beauty of training and training early is being able to catch signs of something wrong or something that might not be working.  Yesterday, I realized I’m still a salter.  When I run, I sweat excessively and usually sweat salt.  My face is white and I can feel the salt on my skin.  It’s never a good thing to sweat salt.  One can avoid sweating salt by eating a diet rich in salt.  This goes against what all the diet books and health panels will tell you but eat salt in moderation and in good forms like: pretzels, soups, canned vegetables, whole grain crackers, and nuts.  Avoid salty foods like packaged meat, hot dogs, and fast food.  You should also consume a sports drink. The electrolytes and sodium in these drinks will help keep your sodium levels replenished. Drinking plain water will further dilute the sodium concentration in your blood that is already low due to your salty sweat.

Another common problem is chafing.  I noticed my feet were hurting – not from training but because my socks were rubbing against my feet.  I bought these socks at Costco.  They were cheap and promised to be moisture wicking but the problem with most of these socks are they contain more cotton than anything and while cotton may have been your friend while you were growing up; it isn’t now.  It clings to your skin and refuses to let go causing all kinds of discomfort.  Unfortunately,  you’ll need to spend a little more for a higher quality brand of socks.  The best socks for your feet will have a thicker weave, be made of nylon or lycra, and feel lightweight.  This will reduce stress on your feet and lessen fatigue.  You will undoubtedly go through a few pair before you find the right fit for you but then again that’s the beauty of a long training period.  By race day, you should have all the gear you need to make race day a success.

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