Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm a Salty Sweater

Apparently, I fall into the category of a salty sweater.  Who would've thought?  Over the course of reading anything and everything I can find about running, I've read many stories of people who literally have salt on their body post-running.  I thought it was a little strange and wondered what that must be like.  Now, I know, because I am apparently a salty sweater myself.

Last weekend after my 5 mile run, when I got to my car, I felt my forehead and it felt gritty.  I don't really know how else to describe it, but it felt like little flecks of sand on my forehead.  I didn't think much about it and I didn't even look at my forehead to see what was going on.  I didn't notice it on my next run and honestly, I forgot about it.

Today, I ran 5 miles and I noticed the same grittiness on my forehead and decided to actually look at my face.  I had a little streak of white on my cheek and near my temple, too.  It was weird, to be sure, but I knew from my scouring of the Internet that this was a fairly common happening.  I thought it might be an indicator of too much sodium in my diet, as my memory couldn't remember whether salty sweat indicated a lack of sodium or an overabundance and I just assumed based on my diet, that it was due to an overabundance.

I found a great post on the Runner's World website, which answered some questions I had and provided some helpful tips, so I thought I would share the information in case you are also a salty sweater!

  • If you have a gritty feeling on your skin, like I had, after a run, or streaks of white on your skin (or clothes!) after a run, you are a salty sweater.  You may also experience sweat that tastes salty (yuck, but let's be honest, sometimes it trickles to your lips) or sweat that stings your eyes (this happens to me all the time, but I thought that was normal.  Who knew?).  
  • Typically, salty sweat happens to those who drink more water and eat a diet lower in sodium.  I found this surprising, because while I have significantly increased my water intake, I feel like my sodium intake is too high and I think I should cut back.  I guess that is not the case, though.
  • The article provided a clever acronym SALT, which stands for Sodium Advances the Level of Training and suggests adding salt to your diet (soy sauce, tomato juice, and pickles are some of the suggested ways to do so), eating a salty snack post-run (pretzels, popcorn, crackers, etc.) and drinking a sports drink when you run instead of plain water, as these types of drinks contain sodium, electrolytes, and other minerals.  
As I said, I feel like I get plenty of sodium in my diet; I add salt regularly to the food I eat, I can't get enough pickles and I have been eating pretzels almost daily.  Clearly though, on longer runs, my body needs more sodium, so I suppose I should start using the MiOFit drops again in my water bottle for those higher mileage days.  I've been reaching for granola bars as my post-run snacks and while it is a chocolate pretzel variety, I may switch to just having regular pretzels afterwards to see if that helps, as well.  

I had a great 5 mile run today and I slightly improved my time from last week's 5 miler.  I did 5.01 miles in 1:02:31 with an average pace of 12:29, which I was pretty pleased with.  My mom came with me and took the boys for a walk, which was really nice.  Nick brought his binoculars and had fun finding birds nests in the trees while they walked. Nick ran the last mile of my run with me, which was really sweet.  He held my hand most of the way and it made my heart happy (and also made the last mile much more enjoyable).  It was such a gorgeous day here with temperatures closer to 60 degrees, so it was nice to get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts.  They are forecasting subzero wind chills for the next few days and I am anticipating some chilly runs this week!  

The nice weather, though, was a nice teaser of springtime weather.  I noticed as I was on my run that many people were taking advantage of the weather and barbecuing.  We decided to do the same and Matt made one of my favorite spring/summer dinner dishes, barbecue pork steaks!  We made baked beans and corn on the cob and it was like a little slice of summer on this January day!

Are you a salty sweater, too?  If so, what steps do you take to avoid salty sweat? 

I love the quote below, because if you had asked me even a year ago if I thought I could run a mile, much less 5, I probably would have laughed at you.  Running has completely redefined my impossible, to the point that I feel like nothing is impossible as long as I put my mind to it. 

"I believe in redefining my impossible."