Electrolyte Deficiency

by - Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thank you for all your suggestions on yesterday's post about my mysterious calf cramping issues. I definitely appreciated all the feedback.

A few of you suggested it could be my work shoes causing the problem because they have a heel. While I know that walking around in heels is definitely not good for my calves, I'm not sure that's the problem here. I've been wearing those shoes for a while and haven't ever had problems with them before, plus the heel is only like 1.5 inches tops.

Yes I am wearing my purple compression sleeves around the office today.

But just in case that's the issue, I'm going to make sure to wear flatter shoes on a more regular basis.

More likely though, I think the culprit is what several of you pointed out -- electrolyte deficiency.

I drink a ton of water during the day, which is good for hydration, but apparently bad for diluting electrolytes. And as much as I've been sweating on my runs lately, I know I'm losing a lot of electrolytes that way.

How I look after runs these days

It doesn't help that I'm also probably the only runner in the world that absolutely hates bananas. Like seriously, they are vile. So I'm definitely not getting my potassium from them. Which begs the question....where exactly am I getting my potassium?


So my new plan of attack is to start sipping on some Nuun more often.


I usually carry Gatorade with me on my long runs, but Nuun will work better on my shorter runs when I don't need all the calories in Gatorade. I also think it would be good to start drinking some Nuun the night before my runs to top of the electrolyte supplies, at least while these awful summer running conditions stick around.

So that's my plan of attack for now. I'm hoping the combo of flats, more electrolytes and wearing my compression sleeves will help beat these stupid calf cramps.

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  1. Hey, I was also going to comment on yesterday's post and then saw your new one today. I also have gotten cramps in my calves - not really during my runs, but sometimes after a long run or a race. Electrolytes are a great idea - and don't ignore sodium. I make an effort to have some salty food (chips, etc) the night before a long run and after, and that seems to help. Once I was cramping up in a yoga class and the instructor told me it could be bc I wore heels that day, but it sounds like that might not be your issue. Anyway, good luck, cramps are the worst!

  2. Was DEFINITELY going to suggest Nuun! Love it!! ;D

  3. I've also heard that drinking tonic water helps. It has quinine ( sp?) in it and that's supposed to help relieve muscle cramps. I don't know, I've never tried it, but it couldn't hurt to have a little vodka tonic and claim its for recovery! ;)

  4. You can also try Pedialyte if you are ever in a situation where there is no Nuun or Gatorade available. It's not just for kids. Ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes uses it.

  5. I also hate bananas. So there are at least two of us!

    Nuun has really helped me. I also eat a piece of pumpkin bread before most long runs, and while I started doing that for totally different reasons (it's the only thing that reliably doesn't unsettle my stomach), pumpkin apparently has a lot of potassium.

  6. Kay-tee2:14 PM

    I hate bananas too! I take them hiking bc of how portable they are. Takes me about 40 minutes to choke down half then the other half is brown--gross!
    Hope the nuun works out

  7. Nuun (or I actually LOVE GU Brew tablets) is a good start. Potatoes are a great source of Potassium. I would still be aware of the shoes you are wearing. Those shoes in the pic above are very similar to flip flops which is a runner's worst enemy. Stay far away from them. Google: "flip flops calf injury"...that will give you some good info. Good luck!