I explored the link between Summer running and elevated heart rate on the run last week in this post here. I continued to see oddly elevated HR during some runs — and not others.
What effects high heart rate?
So doing a little sleuthing, here are some more things that can increase your HR while running that I didn’t touch on in the last post:
- Tricky and/or hilly terrain
- Fatigue due to overtraining
- Too much sugar — even simple carbs like pasta and white rice can be a culprit
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
Hills — check — I have noticed my HR can spike while running up a hill. The other three and the causes of high heart rate I shared in last week’s post? Nope, I don’t think they’re the culprits.
My HR culprit?
What I *think* is the culprit for me? Electrolytes. I’ve noticed on days I’ve made sure to drink Nuun before my run, even if it’s a hot, humid run, my HR seems to stay in its normal range. This is anecdotal, because I’m not about to start using a spreadsheet.
The bottom line is those electrolytes are important! From this post here:
We lose electrolytes through our sweat and need to be conscious about replacing electrolytes during prolonged exercise, especially in the heat or at higher altitudes. In a liter of sweat the average person loses 13 mg of magnesium, 15 mg of calcium, 200 mg of potassium, and 900 mg of sodium. Some people excrete more electrolytes in their sweat (salty sweaters) and this can be seen by the white crusty streaks on their face and body. Some runners are simply more prone to electrolyte imbalances. Studies also show that you’re going to lose more electrolytes if you’re unfit or not acclimatized to the weather or altitude conditions.
More and more studies are suggesting that most of us are also deficient in Magnesium. Supplementing with magnesium can often help with sleep problems and muscle cramping.
Should you drink Coconut Water?
Coconut water is often touted as an electrolyte replacement. I used to use it occasionally, but haven’t in a long while. I decided to buy some recently. From the Mayo Clinic here:
Some evidence suggests that coconut water is comparable to sports drinks. But it’s no more hydrating than plain water.
As a casual beverage, coconut water is considered safe. Coconut water does have calories — 45 to 60 calories in an 8-ounce serving. Weighing the pros and cons, plain water is still the smart choice.
I don’t remember coconut water tasting so nasty though! A cup of coconut water also has about 45 calories, which is not really a big deal other than it’s somewhat empty calories — but it does have those electrolytes!
I’ve been thinking about making up my own electrolyte drink, which isn’t that hard, I just haven’t taken the time to do it. Because I do drink a lot of Nuun. Even though I love Nuun and it works for me, something that is a bit more “natural” might ultimately be more healthy.
Did you know that there is no definition of natural when it comes to marketing so it doesn’t really mean much on packaging? If I choose ingredients my grandma could have pronounced, though, that’s what natural means to me.
I’ve gone back to just looking at HR data after my run, since I think I know what’s going on now. Yesterday I managed (somehow) to down that first cup of Coconut water instead of drinking Nuun, but plan to drink Nuun before my run this morning. I’ll update this post with the results!
Do you like coconut water?
If you answered yes, how do you drink it?
Plain coconut water or do you doctor it with something?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.