Running in the sun….

Not only is my tongue dry…. my legs are now moving like they are made of lead… every muscle cramping….

5km down a mountain to go and no way to escape…

This was a hard lesson I learned 2 years ago, running an one my local mountains. A glorious day for mountain running and an unexplored peak near my house beckoned. As usual I packed all the safety gear and set off up the track… I should have been at the top pretty quick.

The way up took a little longer than planned due to the path widing through broke bracken, but after a two hours and 1500m of hike/run the top was gained..

Just after the top I found a small spring and topped up my 1.5l of water bottles… before jogging down a fire road…

Unfortunately, I had not looked after my nutrition properly, forgetting any gels and oblivious to the existence of salt tabs… the temperature was creeping up.

By the time I reached half way home my pace was down and I felt terrible… muscles were beginning to lock up. Pride kept me going for the last few km when I reached a drivable road…. however I should have phoned for a lift!

I had assumed that I was just unfit, however after taking up triathlon a year or so later I discovered that this was a common problem. Basically I had been sweating so much I had lost electrolyte and my body was struggling to function…. an easily fixable problem

During ironman training I learned about salt tabs (and sweat testing)… and now when it gets warm I tend to have one every hour or so – since then no unexplained cramps.

One word of caution – you can’t go out for 3 hours and take 3 tabs beforehand – you’ll just overload your system and end up peeing more… you need to carry them.

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