The hot weather has (finally) come to Boston and most endurance athletes aren’t use to it yet. Here are a few tips for managing the heat.
--Be sure to not only drink enough fluids during exercise but also add a little sodium to your pre-exercise stint in the heat if you plan to be outside for a a few hours. The sodium helps retain the fluids in your body (as opposed to have plain water go in one end and out the other). This can help delay dehydration and enhance your endurance.
While on a daily basis you might want to minimize your sodium intake, a little extra salt before hot weather exercise can be a wise choice.Some possible choices are chicken noodle soup (or any canned brothy soup), V-8 juice, salted pretzels, baked chips, olives, pickles, ham and cheese sandwich with mustard – or any salted/salty food, before you go. This might be a change in eating habits for health-conscious endurance athletes who cook their oatmeal without salt, rarely eat canned or processed foods, and have no salt shaker on the dinner table.
You might lose 500 to 800+ mg sodium per pound of sweat. (Weigh yourself pre and post exercise to figure our how many pounds of sweat you lose in an hour.) While you need not get obsessed about replacing sodium milligram for milligram, reading food labels can give you a frame of reference regarding how much you replace with your food choices. For example--
A can of chicken noodle soup offers 2,350 mg sodium
A quart of Gatorade offers 440 mg sodium
Eight ounces of orange juice has only 5 mg
Generally, if you crave salt, you should eat salt.
Enjoy that pretzel!
For more information:
The chapter on Replacing Sweat Losses in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers more information.