Monday, September 12, 2016

The Magic Pill?

I just wasn't feeling it.

I was at mile 10 of my long run – 18 miles on the plan – and my stomach felt off. I wasn't sure whether it was related to some lady business or because I didn't "go" enough that morning. Or, it could have been the humidity (lord, how often have I said that lately) ... or bad nutrition the day before ... or I was dehydrated.

When my pals and I stopped at the place where we had iced water stashed, I was done caring why I felt that way. I was just wondering how long I could run with unsettling waves washing over my abdomen.

I tried not to bemoan my discomfort, at least too much as I think it can feed into negative energy and hinder your mental endurance. So I took turns taking swigs from the jug of water (which was amazing, and I highly recommend hiding cold water along your routes) and squirting a Gu into my mouth when I was offered a salt pill.

A salt pill.

Now, I have known about people taking salt during runs and know it can be an important way to even out electrolyte levels, especially if you are a salty sweater – which I am. However, I usually go for the salted varieties of Gu and keep Nuun in my hydration pack, and I always thought that would be enough.

On Saturday, though, I had opted for water and couldn't get enough of it – the latter of which has happened several times this summer. I empty the bladder on my hydration pack. I take drink after drink at every available fountain. I refill when I can.

So I took the salt pill. Took another drink of water. And headed back out to the road.

Our group was running along the course for Fort4Fitness, the premiere running event in Fort Wayne that will offer a full, half, 10K and 4-mile events. The race is in three weeks so many of us were getting a feel for the course and/or using the practice as a chance to run semi-supported.

We were in the last three miles of the half course, clipping along at a 10:15 to 10:30 pace as we had for most of the morning – slow and steady as my friends are pacing the 4:40 hopefuls for the full. But after 4 miles of that pace feeling hard, it started to feel easier. Easier than it had all day and almost to the point that it felt painfully slow.

I didn't get it. I went from wondering whether I could even make it to 15 miles to running all 18 and finishing strong with a 9:20 for the last split. How do things just change like that?

Oh. Yeah. A salt pill.

The tablet I took was an S! Cap, which has 341 milligrams of sodium. A tablet of Nuun has 360 milligrams but I sip on my drink and might not always consume an entire tab per hour, much less more. A salted watermelon Gu has 125 milligrams of sodium, and I take one an hour. By comparison, one could take two S! caps in extremely hot conditions and there are some claims that it's not an even trade, measurement wise, when looking at the sodium level of an S! Cap versus other products. But I don't know about that.

I do know that I did buy a bottle of them today, and I plan to use them when I train to see if I feel stronger on the long runs.


  1. Awesome! I've been making my own sports drink which has salt, maybe more than typical. But perhaps I could bum a pull off you for the race? 😉

  2. Bum away! The bottle has 100 so I think we'll be good for Oct. 1.

  3. NIce! When you said magic pill, I thought you meant the anti-nausea pill that I always carry with me when I'm running a marathon. For some reason, I get really nauseous at mile 16. Not sure why.