Running is a sweaty sport. My core body temperature likes to dramatically rise with any type of cardiovascular activity. And I am a super salty sweater. Which means I need a lot of hydration and electrolyte replenishment after a workout.
I learned this about my body really quickly when I started running longer distances and getting horrible headaches a few hours after a run. My body needed sodium. A lot of it. It is easy to over-hydrate after a sweaty workout, so I try to balance out how much I drink immediately after training, But since I also need the electrolytes, I need a compact way to get them into my system without overloading my kidneys.
The solution: coconut water!
When I first realized I needed fast electrolyte replenishment, I found Nuun tablets. I don’t particularly like super sweet drinks, but the citrus flavors worked pretty well if I dissolved them in one and a half to two times the water suggested on the packaging. This still works for me, and I usually add a tablet to my water bottle for longer runs to get electrolytes in as I sweat them out. But while it’s a much healthier alternative to the standard Gatorade, it is still an artificial and processed product.
Coconut water, however, is a natural source of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It has a slightly sweet flavor that I don’t particularly like, but again, diluting it 50/50 in water helps a lot with the sweetness. Sometimes after a super long, hot run, I’ll dissolve a Nuun tablet into the coconut water/distilled water mixture for an extra electrolyte kick. I just have to keep track of how much I am getting of these nutrients to ensure I don’t overdose my system.
If you’re staring at all the varieties and brands of coconut water at the store, stick to a natural, no added sugar version. A lot of coconut water is pasteurized which destroys some of the healthy enzymes, so look for ones that are raw, if you can find them. The only ingredient on the container should be plain coconut water.
Another great solution is homemade Gatorade. The Thrive Diet has a great recipe for homemade ginger ale made with coconut water that acts as a terrific source of natural electrolyte hydration. I’ve only recently tried this, and it has worked really well to keep the headaches at bay and my body back on track.
Has anyone tried coconut water? Or discovered any other great electrolyte refueling methods?