Pedialyte Before a Marathon: Who’s Tried It?

(Not an April Fools’ Day joke, despite today’s date.)

I get nervous before races. And unfortunately for me, nervous doesn’t just mean thinking, “Gee whiz, this race is going to be tough,” and experiencing general dread. Nervous means three, four, five trips to the porta-potty. The kind of trips where, if the one I choose is out of toilet paper, I’m going to have a really big problem. Get my drift?

This happens before races of all distances, and it’s been happening since high school. Track meets, where I’d sometimes compete in four different events, were extra fun.

So many reasons to hate track.

So many reasons to hate track.

Besides being gross and inconvenient, my “runs” before my runs only became a real problem when I started doing marathons. An hour or two of running while severely dehydrated? No biggie. But three to four?

During my last marathon, my fingers were so swollen I couldn’t take off my ring (which is usually loose enough to fall off, if I’m gesturing wildly). After 18 miles or so, I started getting on-and-off charley horses in my feet and legs. Luckily, they were off often enough to allow me to finish, but I was doubting it for a while. Also: It only got up to about 55 degrees during this race.

I’d had plenty of fluids—including water, Gatorade, and Nuun—the day before and the morning of the race…I just pooped them all out during the hour we spent in the starting area. I drank water and took PowerBar gels on the course, but by that time, it was too late.

As fun as hyponatremia is to say, I’d rather not experience it.

I’ve tried Hammer Endurolyte tablets, and they didn’t seem to do much. (It was hot that day, and maybe I’d be dead without them. No way to know, though.) I feel like they take too much time to dissolve and get absorbed into my system.

Some of my high-school teammates used to swear by Pedialyte. (Because apparently, we all had this problem.) I thought it’d be gross, not to mention unnecessary for a race that was 5K or shorter.

But now, I see the company has come out with flavors other than cherry and grape. And Pedialyte is made to treat the very problem I have: uncontrollable diarrhea. (Yeah. I said it.)

Has anyone tried it? Tips, tricks, suggestions? Is it even possible for its glorious electrolytes to enter my bloodstream in the last 30 minutes before a race, which is when I’d have to drink it to have some chance of keeping it in my digestive system?


About Meghan Loftus
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