Drinking water is usually the first line strategy to replace fluids lost through sweat, however consuming large amounts of plain water is not recommended to replace fluid or electrolyte losses and can lead to hyponatremia and even death. Consuming beverages that contain electrolytes is the most sensible way to replace salt and water lost in sweat. These include sports drinks such as Lucozade hydro, which contains 185mg of Na per 500ml. However, it would take between 13-28 500ml litre bottles of Lucozade hydro to replace the amounts of Na that can be lost during training and your training or marathon, which is obviously not a good idea.
Drinking between 2 and 4 bottles of sports drink such as Lucozade hydro may be appropriate during activity. Lucozade also produce a product called hydro plus powder sachets that contains 91mg per 100ml of fluid consumed which may be more appropriate to use if your regularly experience cramp or it is a particularly hot day. Beyond this and depending on the length of time and ambient temperature you train at, it may be wise to salt your food, however if you consume any processed foods you will need to take in to account the amount of salt in these products.
Another good option is to use the product Elete which provides 45mg of Mg, 390mg of Cl, 130mg of K and 125mg of Na per litre of water, this can be added to water, juice, tea and other beverages that you consume throughout the day to improve rehydration. More simply you could just add a pinch of good quality salt such as Celtic Sea Salt to your beverages – this is less scientific but a good option for those who do not want to spend money of pre- designed products.
Other naturally “salty” drinks such as Vita Coco contain 40mg of Na, 66mg of calcium, 40mg of Mg and a whopping 740mg K. It also contains 16.5g of carbohydrates and 148mg of vitamin C and is a great alternative to a sports drink and could be consumed pre, during and after training and games.
Make your own sports drink
You can easily make your own sports drink by mixing 75% water with 25% juice and adding a pinch of salt.