iRunFar Survival Tip #1 – Emergency Electrolyte Sources

desert salt electrolytes runningIf you are ever stuck out on the trail or the road with water, but no electrolytes consider using your head… or, more specifically, your hat. If you’re like me, you don’t wash your running hat all the time. During this time various salts build up in and on the hat. When in need, just wet a small section of the hat and squeeze into your mouth or water vessel. (Don’t wet the whole hat at once, lest electrolytes end up dripping uselessly on to the ground.) While this may seem gross to some (not to us), it’s far better than cramping up or worse out in the wilderness because you don’t have an electrolyte source. Read on for more emergency electrolyte sources.

Anyone every tried something like this? Got any other ideas for emergency salt sources?

mimulus ringers Allegheny monkey flower electrolytesHere are are three more, we’ll add more as comments come in:

  • Wring out a sweaty shirt – This will only work if it’s humid out.
  • Face salt – Ever come back from a winter run and notice salt all over your face? Just consider your a giant soft pretzel and eat up!
  • Monkey flowers – Flowers in the genus Mimulus concentrate salt in their leaves and stems and are a good source of electrolytes if you are stranded in the wilderness.

There are 9 comments

  1. BGill

    Wow. I've thought to myself before "why not just use the salt on my face for electrolytes if need be?" but that is usually followed immediately by "don't be a moron, you'd never get enough to make a difference… and people will probably look at you funny". I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who's had this idea before! Can you attest to it working, or is this purely hypothetical right now?

  2. Grae Van Hooser

    You running this Marathon des Sables race next March is winding you way to tight already ;) I was just looking at the brow of my First Endurance visor that is a nice medium shade of brown, having never been washed, and probably never will be. I thing I'll pass on the brown electrolytes. I can't wait to hear you ideas on emergency calories. Toe cheese?

  3. Holly

    Oh my goodness…Wow. Now, in addition to worrying about wildlife I have to worry about my running friends trying to lick my face. Sick!

  4. Trail Goat

    I think the main lesson behind all this is to bring far more than enough electrolytes with you when you go for a run that *could* have you out there for a long time. That means anything where you could get lots or could get hurt away from civilization in hot conditions.Bgill,With the above out of the way, I'd be happy to coordinate an analytical study of electrolyte output and collection availability under low humidity conditions. I'd just need a collection vessel with a consistent, known tare weight and a volunteer, college student, grad student, or scientific researcher with a very accurate scale. An added bonus would be the ability to quantify the ionic components of the sweat crystals. However, the basic electrolyte composition of sweat has been studied in the athletic context, including by salt stick: http://saltstick.com/about/about.htm . Grae,It's alright to wash your hat/visor every once in a while! Oh, and my consideration of this topic wasn't exactly intentional. Rather, after a prolonged dry spell in the DC area, I ran in a torrential downpour on Saturday. It's then that I noticed a very salty taste in my mouth. After some quick investigation, it turns out the source of the salt was my hat!

  5. Paige

    I was enjoying my morning cup of yogurt while I read this post, and my stomach was doing fine until I read the toe cheese comment from Grae. Yikes!!That said, I would totally drink from my hat if I had to! Gotta do what you gotta do.

  6. olga

    My running partner and I always tell each other we can lick the salt off each other on the run if cramping sets in and no salt is carried:) So it's old trick. And it works too!

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