As many of you know, OMT! is a distance runner. (BRAGGER!)
I started when a coach at my elementary school asked me to join the track team. Me? Track? I had never considered it before, but because my friends were doing it, I agreed. It was there, on the dusty West Texas school ground fields, I discovered my lifelong passion for running.
Over the years, I have tried many sports drinks, otherwise known as electrolyte replacement drinks, but I have never been a fan of them, mostly because I typically eschew artificial ingredients in most of what I eat.
Oreos don’t count. DON’T COUNT!
SIDE NOTE: electrolyte replacement drinks are also great when you’re sick and have diarrhea. This is especially true for the very young and the elderly.
So what’s a runner gal to do? What are you to do?
Make your own!
Let’s backup for a hot minute. What are electrolytes and why is it important to replace them?
Basically, electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge, enabling them to move signals through your body for proper body function. You lose electrolytes when you sweat. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing yard work or running a marathon, if you sweat, you’re losing electrolytes.
So what’s the big deal?
What is the function of electrolytes in our body?
~ proper muscle function (heart included)
~ regulating blood volume and nerve function
~ control the amount of water in our bodies
Cliff’s Note: If you’re sweating, you’re losing electrolytes. If you’re losing electrolytes, you need to replenish.
The easy way to replenish is to drink water combined with a bit of sugar (glucose for muscles) and salt (helps your body absorb water).
The easiest rule of thumb to remember when make your own drinks: 1 tsp of sugar (In any form. I use maple syrup) and 1 tsp of salt, to 1 cup of water.
Because I need more than one cup of water on my runs, I’ll mix enough for two cups. You can store in any type of bottle you prefer.
Electrolyte Replacement Drink
1-2 cups of water
1-2 tsp maple syrup/honey
1-2 tsp salt (to your taste)
fresh squeezed orange/lemon juice (citrus is a great electrolyte replenisher…soccer moms know what’s what!)
Combine and shake what your mother gave ya!
I have also seen where some folks like to combine a V8 with water and lemon. Or replace the water with coconut water. Go with what tastes good to you, while making sure you have the water/salt/sugar components to replace what you’re losing.
I drink some right before I head out for a long run (about a cup) and then another cup about halfway through that long run, to offer my body a bit of fuel for the miles still in front of me.
You can drink it before a workout, on days you need a bit of a pick-me-up, or on the days you’re ill and need the hydration.
All-natural and good for you! Tasty too (once you figure out your combo).
Happy Replenishing, y’all!