Beginners and Beyond

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Was it the Hills or too Much Salt Loss? Question for the Marathoners. (Read 127 times)


Anomalous

    On yesterday, a fellow runner from a group I’m part of, ran her first marathon in our state - the Columbia SC Marathon. For those of you not familiar with this event, it is in it’s second year in the Capital City and is one of the hilliest marathons out there. It’s also a double-loop course, so you are running the same hills twice to complete the 26.2. It’s a difficult course for veterans, let alone newbies. It was not even close on my list as a first marathon option. For me, my limit is it’s half marathon event.

     

    During the race on yesterday, I found out that my fellow runner collapsed at mile 22 of the race and was walking the last 4.2 miles to the finish. She reported to the group that her knee started to swell at mile 14 and that both calves locked up on her at mile 22, which made her fall since she could not move. The officers on the scene helped her stretch and massage out her aches and she was able to walk the rest of the course. After she crossed the finish she went to the medical tent where the staff stated that she was covered in salt and that she lost too much salt from her body and that is why she cramped up. 

     

    Her training for her debut marathon went pretty well. The only issue she experienced was a bum knee after having to dodge an inconsiderate motorist about three weeks out from her marathon date. She also had a goal of finishing in 4:30, which may have been a bit lofty, but that’s just my opinion based on the demands of this course. As far as I know, she was consistent with her nutrition/fuel in training and during the race. I didn’t question her about it to see if anything changed. 

     

    So was it the loss of salt or the hills that caused her calves to give way?

     

    My reasons for getting feedback on this is because, I’m just a little concerned for my own experience. I sweat a lot and also release a lot of salt from my body when I run. I’ll be running my first full in November and I don’t want what happened to her to happen to me. I’m currently in the habit of consuming NUUN after I run and before a race I’ll drink half of a bottle of Gatorade and have an Emergen-C packet. Should I be practicing with salt packets as my double digit miles increase during my full marathon training? I’ve noticed that in several events that I’ve participated in, salt packets were given to the marathoners. [No salt packets were given in this marathon, but other appropriate fuel was provided].

     

    If you feel that the elevation may have been a factor for her problems, then I’ll be a bit more relieved. I’m not too proud to walk hills and don’t have any specific time goals for my first full. I just want to finish in the upright position. Approve

    Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

    "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi

    LRB


    Dreamer

      Just to speak on the salt issue, while tracking my daily carb intake for a carb load I did for a marathon, the amount of sodium I tallied in every day foods was jaw dropping.

       

      Based on my experiences, I personally see no reason for salt supplementation whatsoever.

      MRT: This too shall pass I made it!

      happylily


        I agree with LRB. My guess would be that your friend was under-trained for such a hilly marathon and that killed her legs, causing her all kinds of problems subsequently. If she drank like she did in training and the weather wasn't abnormally hot, then it certainly wasn't a loss of too much salt. Just my opinion. But tell her congratulations from me, she was brave to pick such a hard race as her first!

        PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

        4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     


        Anomalous

          Thank you, both! My first thought was the hills too.

          Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

          "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi

          FSocks


          Gramps

            So was it the loss of salt or the hills that caused her calves to give way?

             

            Probably neither.

             

            Typical probable cause for nOOb marathoner:

            Too few overall training miles

            Over aggressive goal

            Over aggressive pace

            Trying to bank time

            Battling injuries and not adjusting goal

            Starting too fast

            Not training in a way that adequately mimics course conditions (weather, terrain, hills, etc.)

            Running is dumb. 

            GC100k


              Do marathoners take salt packets?  I've only heard of that for ultras.  Before my marathon and before summer long runs I made sure to eat something salty the day before and have some gatorade during the run, not just water.  You hear of people having problems in marathons from drinking lots of water without electrolytes, but the sport drinks and gels have lots of salt.


              Anomalous

                So was it the loss of salt or the hills that caused her calves to give way?

                 

                Probably neither.

                 

                Typical probable cause for nOOb marathoner:

                Too few overall training miles

                Over aggressive goal

                Over aggressive pace

                Trying to bank time

                Battling injuries and not adjusting goal

                Starting too fast

                Not training in a way that adequately mimics course conditions (weather, terrain, hills, etc.)

                 

                Great points! Thanks for sharing.

                Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

                "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi


                Anomalous

                  Do marathoners take salt packets?  I've only heard of that for ultras.  Before my marathon and before summer long runs I made sure to eat something salty the day before and have some gatorade during the run, not just water.  You hear of people having problems in marathons from drinking lots of water without electrolytes, but the sport drinks and gels have lots of salt.

                   

                  I saw a few people take the salt packets at the RnR Savannah race last year. That was the first time I've heard/seen that happen. Since then I've seen it available on tables during other events.

                  Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

                  "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi

                  GC100k


                    Typical probable cause for nOOb marathoner:

                    Crashes happen.  It's not morally wrong to be too ambitious and crash. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

                     

                    I spent the weekend at the NCAA indoor track championships.  This guy struck up a conversation with me and told me his passion (and he was VERY passionate about it) was 800m racing strategy.  He pointed out that a guy who burns out and gets passed at the end gets criticized for coming in 2nd but the guy who is too conservative and ends up 4th escapes criticism.  I think he has a point.

                     

                    There's a difference between a top competitor running a race that takes 1 min 47 seconds versus a weekend warrior being out there half a day for a marathon.  But the principle is the same. Sometimes on these forums people who blow up get reamed like they did something evil (poor Dizzy).  But hey, stuff happens.

                     

                    So she can learn from the experience and try to address some deficiencies y'all talked about.  But good for her for giving it a shot and having a too ambitious goal.


                    Bad Ass

                      I agree with LRB and Lily.  But this:

                       

                      So was it the loss of salt or the hills that caused her calves to give way?

                       

                      Probably neither.

                       

                      Typical probable cause for nOOb marathoner:

                      Too few overall training miles

                      Over aggressive goal

                      Over aggressive pace

                      Trying to bank time

                      Battling injuries and not adjusting goal

                      Starting too fast

                      Not training in a way that adequately mimics course conditions (weather, terrain, hills, etc.)

                       

                      is what I think did her in.

                      Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                      Blog

                      "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."


                      Bad Ass

                        I agree with LRB that there is no need for salt supplementation for most runners.  I am not planning on taking any during my first ultra (however, it is only a 50K) and I know my ultra friends only use some salt tablets for 50 miles on.

                         

                         

                        I saw a few people take the salt packets at the RnR Savannah race last year. That was the first time I've heard/seen that happen. Since then I've seen it available on tables during other events.

                        Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                        Blog

                        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                        Longboat


                        Letting off steam

                          Sweat is always less salty than body fluids.  As one sweats and does not fully replace fluid loss, body fluids become more salty.  Salt supplementation during a marathon would, if a substantial portion were absorbed, increase concentration.  
                          No supplementation required during a marathon.

                           

                          Ultras ? Maybe...

                          Neil

                          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Nearly back to 100% 6 months after Achilles surgery. Now at 35 50 mpw.

                          Base building time!


                          Mmmmm...beer

                            I sweat a lot and get crusted in salt on a long run in the heat, and haven't had any issues, even during my "marathon" back in Dec, it was 58*, and I was fine with just water and a few GUs (I have since stopped taking GU on my long runs, still no issues).

                            -Dave

                            My running blog

                            2014 Goals | sub-19 5k done! | sub-40 10k done! | BQ done! | sub-3 M

                              I lose a lot of salt when I sweat. I've had to visit a local hospital to be given electrolytes via IV.

                               

                              After my first marathon (Jerusalem, which is about half a mile above sea level and very hilly), my shirt had salt stains. I didn't eat any meat (kosher meat has a higher sodium content than non-kosher meat), so I took a S!Cap after about two hours.

                               

                              Did she wear a shoe with a lower heel-to-toe drop than she normally does? Did she train for hills?


                              Anomalous

                                Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

                                 

                                 

                                Did she wear a shoe with a lower heel-to-toe drop than she normally does? Did she train for hills?

                                 

                                ^ I'm not sure about the shoes. As far as the hills, she adjusted her training after doing the first preview run for the race back in January. So, she knew she had to do more hill training. However, I don't think she ran that route again after that, even though it's not hard to do without road closures. Lots of available sidewalks.

                                Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

                                "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi

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