Preparing for a marathon or a race day is not an easy task. You may practise repeatedly to improve your timing and still may feel nervous for the main event. But scientists have found an interesting solution to this problem. Have something salty.
The link between salt and your speed
Yes, food plays an important role when it comes to increasing your overall running speed and can help to boost your performance. Salt has gained a bad reputation, but it is not that harmful when consumed in a proper way. There are myriad studies that suggest that having excess sodium can increase your risk of blood pressure, heart failure and stroke. Apart from this, it can also affect your appearance. But for an athlete or runner, salty food can prove to be quite beneficial. This is because they have to cover a long distance and your favourite sports drink may not be that helpful in replacing the electrolytes you lose with sweat.
As per a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, having salty nuts or taking a salt supplement can be quite beneficial when you are running a marathon. For the study, the researchers tested the effects of salt supplements among people competing in a half-triathlon. They divided the participants into two groups- one group of people were given the usual sports drink and 12 salt capsules that they had to take throughout the competition, while the other group of participants were given sports drinks and a placebo.
In the end, it was found that the group of participants that had salt capsules finished the competition 26 minutes faster (on an average) than the other group.
Why salt helps
This is because when we sweat during any competition, our body loses electrolytes. We start feeling fatigued and our speed decreases. During a short race, a sports drink is enough to maintain the level of electrolyte in the body. But when you are running a marathon, taking salty nuts or salt capsules between the race is better to maintain your speed and energy. The amount of salt you need depends on your speed, how much your sweat and the distance you have to cover.