Does the body store electrolytes?

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    Jul 21, 2009 3:29 PM GMT
    I have a race on Sunday and in addition to eating properly and hydrating will there be any benefit to increasing my intake of electrolytes during the week prior to the race? ie...gatorade, smart water, electrolyte tabs?
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    Jul 21, 2009 6:21 PM GMT
    I believe humans cannot store water or electrolytes. I did find an article, written by a physician, recommending a salty diet starting several days before a race. His reasoning being: to be certain that the runner is not starting the race hyponatremic (low sodium level). Serious medical problems can result from hyponatremia.

    * Don't drink more water than you sweat--compulsive water drinkers can start a race with a low sodium level (hyponatremia).

    * When sweating a lot, choose sport drinks (that contain some sodium) over water (which has none).

    * Don't overhydrate in the days before the race. You can't stock up on fluids like a camel.

    * Eat a relatively salty diet in the days before the race.

    * Eat some pretzels in the last half of the race.

    "Running FitNews" Editorial Board Member, Randy Eichner, M.D., Oklahoma City, OK
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    Jul 21, 2009 6:49 PM GMT
    stringman saidI have a race on Sunday and in addition to eating properly and hydrating will there be any benefit to increasing my intake of electrolytes during the week prior to the race? ie...gatorade, smart water, electrolyte tabs?

    As FirstKnight states, you cannot store significant water & electrolytes per se, like some other animals can. At the same time, you can ensure you don't begin your race with a deficit, so that a mild increase in water prior to the race can be beneficial as a precautionary measure.

    Body water content is a range, and it could help that you begin the race at the upper range, assuming this is a race of distance & endurance.

    As FirstKnight suggests, body water retention can be influenced by salt, so that salt intact prior to the race may help water retention. Don't overdo, however, or your body may resist releasing that water.

    The best way to hydrate is water consumption throughout the race. Continuous small amounts are ideal, if that's practical.

    Please let us know how the race goes.
  • sarmorgh

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    Jul 23, 2009 3:57 AM GMT
    Electrolytes is a fancy word for salts. Start hydrating the day before the race (with water) and eat some carbs. For a race you really only need to replenish your electrolytes if you are engaged in physical activity for more than about an hour.
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    Jul 23, 2009 7:38 AM GMT
    No, not really. In my non-expert opinion I would think that you'd have all the electrolytes you need from your diet assuming you don't eat crap all day long. I believe where eating foods with salt helps right before a run is that it allows your body to absorb fluid so it doesn't sit sloshing around in your stomach (like it did on my run tonight ugh!)

    Don't try anything before or during the race that you haven't tried in training.

    How long is it? What you do the week before a half marathon and less and what you do the week of a marathon or longer are completely different things.
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    Jul 23, 2009 10:27 PM GMT
    I always ingest a spoonful of peanut butter about an hour before my race. Seems to help.
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    Jul 24, 2009 7:05 AM GMT
    RunintheCity saidI always ingest a spoonful of peanut butter about an hour before my race. Seems to help.


    I can't do peanut butter before my runs. I was on my long run yesterday and I thought about the peanut butter and honey sandwich I'd eaten at lunch and I started gagging. Weird.
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    Aug 02, 2009 11:31 AM GMT
    Too much sodium is gonna retain water in your body. icon_idea.gif