In this article I’m going to have a look at some of the best salt tablets for runners and why you may need to be using them.
We are taught from a very young age that too much salt is bad for us. This is true as too much daily salt has been linked to high blood pressure and putting extra strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain (which leads to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease).
The recommended daily allowance of salt is 2300mg and if you eat a well-balanced diet, this is quite easy to reach without shaking salt over everything.
But what about when you are training and racing endurance events, especially if the weather is warm?
It has been researched that endurance athletes can lose as much as 3000mg of sodium in an hour when training or racing. Now this will differ greatly between individuals. But losing anywhere close to that when running for long periods means you need to replenish the body’s sodium levels before the body starts to struggle and run into problems.
Sodium is essential for the hydration process. It is essential in maintaining the body’s fluid balance and plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function.
The loss of too much salt can lead to running problems such as cramping and hyponatraemia, which is bought on from over-hydrating, leading to low blood-sodium levels.
Because people sweat at different rates, there is no one formula for how much sodium you should take.
A basic rule I use is if I have lost quite an amount of sweat in an hour plus session or run, I will look at about a 200mg replenish of sodium. This might be in the way of an electrolyte drink or salty snack after your workout.
For this type of replenishment I choose either –
They are super easy to add to water and you know they have all the electrolytes you need to replenish your body’s loss through solid workouts, that in turn, help with recovery. Another popular type that I am yet to try is –
When running for longer, I look to salt capsules to keep my sodium levels in balance.
Salt capsules are formulated to replenish the minerals lost in sweat. The main minerals that are lost are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Two of the most popular products are SaltStick Capsules and SaltStick Fast Chews . This is the brand I recommend. Although I have not used the chews, they are quite popular with endurance athletes, especially if you prefer a small chewy tablet opposed to swallowing a capsule. As you can see below the capsules have a higher amount per single tablet . It is approximately four chews to one capsule. So you would take a lot less of the capsules. This is the main reason I personally like the capsules
Each capsule/tablet contains the following-
Vitamin D (to help with calcium absorption)
The amount you take per hour will depend on a number of factors, humidity, body type etc. I generally take between 1-3 SaltStick Capsules per hour depending on conditions and therefore the amount I am sweating during each event.
If you were taking the SaltStick Chews you would be possibly taking anywhere from 4-12 per hour.
I find these capsules are super easy to pack in you vest or small pocket. Being so small and concentrated they are easily carried in a small hand sized container with a flip open lid or a small reusable plastic bag. So in the case of rain or heavy sweat from your body they are not damaged and stay dry until they hit your mouth with a small amount of water.
They also make it easy to calculate what you are taking opposed to a salty snack and they are very easy and quick to ingest as you are running along.
Like anything that you are new to, make sure you practice with any new product in training before you decide to use it in race conditions so you avoid any unexpected surprises.