Elete Water- Electrolyte Solution
June 2010 I was in the south of Spain on a long training run for the Badwater later in the year. It was quite warm as you might expect and about 30 miles in with the temperature soaring well over 30 degrees I was starting to buckle. I was running with a friend Mark Wooley who lives there and is more aclimatised to the heat but at this early stage there is no way I should have been feeling like this. I had eaten plenty, drank a fair bit, was covered up from the sun and it's not like I have not run this kind of distance before. My legs and head were showing the symptoms of exhaustion.
But it was not exhaustion, it was electrolyte depletion and I had no idea what this was. Fortunately Mark was around to fix it. The symptoms I find are the same, the jelly legs and the fuzzy brain of sheer exhaustion, easy to confuse the feeling with not having much energy but in fact it can be a lack of control over your own muscles, caused by lack of salt.
Somehow I managed to not really understand or care about electrolytes for the first three years of my ultra running. I probably survived on luck though in the Spartathlon in 2009 I nearly paid for my ignorance with kidney failure. I have lots of advice for ultra runners on how they can get through things but one of the very first things I would urge anyone to do is to familiarise themselves with these four little salt compounds and learn about what they do to you. And what lack of them does to you. I used to think the answer was pringles. I found I was wrong just in time.
So what is it?
Eletewater is a solution of four key salts that enable out muscles to function properly. You may have heard of a condition called Hyponatremia which is when your sodium levels are flushed out by too much water. In my experience this is a very common cause of people screwing up their race when it is unexpectedly hot. That's not to sat that these should only be taken on hot days however. I don't want this to read like a science article (read it here) as I am not trained in that area. I will however say that this is one of my few "essentials" for completing the Badwater ultra and later the Los Angeles to New York Race, where for 40 days the temperature was over 40C (100F). That took it's toll on everyone, but I believe I was coping well.
Prior to using this I ran the Spartathlon and had one of the worst end of race and post race experiences ever. Not only was I exhausted but I was (unknown at the time) depleted of electrolyte and ended up on anti biotics for pissing blood. That was not nice and easily preventable.
I prefer Elete water over others simply because it is so versatile. I carry a small bottle with me an any big event and squeeze some into anything I drink. There are obviously recommended doses but in reality you have to find your own way. Some sweat more than others, temperatures vary, drinks vary. I add this to anything I am drinking, water in my bladder, a can of coke, another sports drink even a pasta or noodle dish. It's so small and has no flavour that you can just take it in addition to anything else you happen to be drinking. I find it easier to remember just to squirt this into any drink rather then remember to take salt tablets at certain intervals. If I start to feel a bit wobbly and I know it's not due to lack of food them I'll just up the dose.
A key advantage for me of Elete over other electrolyte products is that it's easier for me to remember to take them. I know runners who "forget" to take their salt tablets and often it leads to misery. With this solution that really can be added to anything I find it's easy, if I am having a drink - squirt some in. Simple. Before something a bit more epic I'll have some in whatever I drink the night before to ensure that I start out fully loaded with Electrolytes. It's also great to take after a night out to reduce the impact of a hangover.
This comes top of my list of things to take for a race. Ok perhaps shorts and shoes come higher but you know what I mean.
You can get Elete from Ed and Phil active here.