Salt in Diet

News & Results

02/7/2003| 0 comments
by Peter Sleight

Salt in Diet

Please pass the Veggies and the Salt

water, depletion or dilution of electrolytes will not occur.    While racing, many athletes find that they get enough electrolyte by consuming sports drinks and gels, however if you are racing in extreme heat or tend to loose more than a usual amount of salt in your sweat you may need to add a salt tablet to your race nutrition.  Recently, customizable sport drinks have entered the marketplace, which allow for the addition of electrolytes to a base formula for those people who are heavier sweaters or who are more prone to cramping. 


Recent studies have also shown that sodium is important for recovery from exercise, so ensuring you have enough in your diet is doubly important.  Generally, the average North American diet will provide enough sodium for the needs of your body, but if you have special dietary conditions (i.e. vegetarian, vegan, food allergies, etc) then you should consult with your coach, a registered dietician, or your doctor to ensure that all your bodily needs are being met. 


Above everything else, remember this, you know your body the best.  Practice eating and drinking while training on the bike and during the run!  Get heat acclimated!  Listen to the needs of your body! If you have any doubts about your nutritional and hydration requirements, speak to your coach or a trained professional.  Stay safe and enjoy the miles!


Some Recommendations:


?         FDA daily requirements for sodium are about 2,400 mg.

?         Drink frequently but do not assume you can drink unlimited amounts. As mentioned above, CTS recommends about 4-8 ounces every 10-15 min.  So about 24-32 ounces or a large water bottle full per hour!

?         Always use a sports drink to help replenish electrolytes and glycogen!

?         When training multiple hours, especially in the heat and during races, take in foods high in sodium like, pretzels, and saltines.  Sometimes you might even see chicken broth at a feed zone!  A cup of chicken broth has about 990mg or almost 1 gram of sodium, the recommended amount we need per hour!

Doctor Doug H. Miller, of Hawaii Ironman fame, recommends taking in about 1 gram of sodium per hour during a long, hot race. While he has found that this formula has had success, he also stresses that this might not be appropriate for everyone, and you need to determine your specific needs through training and consultation with trained health professionals.

Peter Sleight is a Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) Cycling/Multisport Coach and USA Cycling Expert Level Coach. To learn more about Sleight and CTS, visit the web site at


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