Back to Back Issues Page
Keeping Pace, Issue #011 -- Electrolytes 101, A BBQ Win
August 12, 2013

Don't Get Watered Down

With August in full swing in most parts of the world, so is the heat and humidity. Since many of us are busy training getting ready for running goals in the fall, this can mean ample training miles in sweltering weather.

Even in cooler basement treadmills you can experience elevated temperatures as the room heats up relative to what is going on outside. So while staying hydrated is indeed important for all humans, working athletes like runners who are sweating have extra special needs!

There is a really long list of good reasons to keep on top of hydrating yourself and the two topping the list for runners are performance during training/events and helping your body to recovery from your workouts afterwards. The first key to staying hydrated is making sure you’re getting a steady stream of good clean water through your body.

As a runner you should have water with you whenever and wherever you go. The secret to drinking enough water, like eating properly, is having easy and convenient access to water; at home, in the car, at work in meetings, sitting at your desk, etc. Chugging large amounts of water at any one time is not an effective way to hydrate as your body can only absorb a limited amount of water at any one time. The best way to stay topped up is to take in small but steady amounts of water during all of the hours that fall between sleep and running.

Remember though that water is not the whole picture, particularly for runners during the summer months. When you sweat you are losing water as well as precious electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium so consuming a balance of electrolytes along with water is vital to attempt to replenish what has been lost.

Many of the elements lost in sweat can eventually be replaced by a well-balanced diet, but it really depends on how much and how long you sweat. If you are doing higher mileage weeks that include longer sweating periods such as long runs and double workouts, your electrolyte levels can become severely impaired and you will definitely need to look at supplementing to stay on top of your hydration needs. Other factors that determine your sweating rate include your fitness level, genetics, current body composition, and even a lack of adaptation to the weather(for us northern folk).

Electrolyte replacement can get a little tricky because we are all unique individuals in what we like and in how we respond to fluids during and after exercise. You definitely need to experiment to find out what works best for you in training. For example, many of us have a hard time stomaching those brightly colored sports drinks loaded with refined sugar that are unfortunately still served at most running events. Luckily, there are some great substitutes out there that are much easier to stomach and actually taste pretty good.

One great and natural alternative to replace your electrolytes is coconut water.

Not to be confused with coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid that is derived from the centre of young green coconuts. While it contains less sugar and calories than most sports drinks, it contains an unusually high amount of potassium. In truth, coconut water may take some getting used to as you may find it tastes a little like sweat (go figure) but I’ve found the key to actually enjoying it is ensuring that it is ICE COLD!

Another great electrolyte replenishment alternative that is completely sugar free is Nuun tablets. These come in small cylindrical tubes containing 12 tablets - each of which will blend with 16 oz. of water to make a perfectly balanced electrolyte drink. They also have a line making them easy to break in half to drop into a 500 ml regular water bottle. There is a huge selection of flavors and they are widely available, even a couple with caffeine, at running and general sporting goods stores everywhere.

Nuun has a special formulation of electrolytes that will help your body to absorb water into your blood stream. In short, that means more of the water you drink is actually used to hydrate you instead of being eliminated because the electrolyte balance wasn’t right.

TIP: While using your fuel of choice is always easily doable during training, keep in mind you’ll need to have a plan (husband, boyfriend, wife, dedicated friend, etc.) to have your poison available to you during your running event as your body will be accustomed to it!

A Slightly Salty BBQ Gem

Many of our favorite recipes (nutritionally packed AND delicious) come straight from the genius foodies at

This month, I wanted to share this great recovery meal to try on the grill that will help you to get some of those electrolytes back into your body along with a nice balance of protein and even a little kick...

Cajun Spiced Chicken Skewers Wrapped in Prosciutto

  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon *Cajun spice mix
  • Fresh sage leaves, one per piece of chicken
  • Prosciutto for wrapping the chicken (about 200 grams total)


  1. Chop the chicken into bite size pieces.
  2. Toss the chopped chicken with the spice mix until well covered.
  3. Lay one sage leaf on each piece of chicken and wrap with a strip of Prosciutto.
  4. Thread the wrapped chicken onto a skewer.
  5. Place your skewers on the grill and cook until done.
  6. Enjoy with your favorite cold summer beverage(s) :)

*If you're interested in trying to make your own Cajun Spice mix, check out the suggested recipe

MYRG Quote of the Month

"Happiness is found in doing. Not merely in possessing."

Napoleon Hill


Go to MYRG Home page.

Back to Back Issues Page