Isotonic drinks - anyone use them after a run? - Couch to 5K

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Isotonic drinks - anyone use them after a run?

I've been getting headaches usually a few hours after my runs, especially now I'm doing longer runs (just finished week 7).

It's not because of dehydration, or lack of/too much food before/after running but on doing some research yesterday I came across a possible answer, which could be low sodium and therefore an electrolyte imbalance. Further research led me to thinking that drinking an isotonic drink such as Lucozade Sport after the run would rebalance me.

So, I'm going to try this on my next run on Monday and I will report back. But in the meantime can anyone shed light on isotonic drinks - do they work?

10 Replies

they are supposed to replace salt loss arent they?

I read that adding a pinch of salt to a drink of squash is basically the same as an isotonic drink.


Thanks for the link :)

Have you tried them - either home made or shop bought?


I do add a pinch of salt to my squash. you cant taste it :) Ive also bought the Tesco one but mainly for the bottle & do this again when the lid gets a bit loose. I dont like the shop bought ones. too strong a taste for me.

Ive only had headaches recently but Ive put that down to getting outside (treadmill runner) & the lovely bright weather we have been having. & I do tense up round the shoulders outside. probably something to do with hunching over & extra arm swinging to get up those hills & long steady inclines :)


good link shelley, I always find commercial drinks too sweet, I might try this, I often have squash, i.e. lime cordial when I get back so I'll try a pinch of salt in it.


The salt doesn't have to be in the drink, a glass of water, banana and something salty like a packet of crisps or a few salted peanuts work just as well ;)

Isotonic drinks are useful mid-run when it's not practical to eat, in the same way as oral rehydration drinks work well when someone has a tummy bug and can't cope with solids.

My favourite would be water and a slice of wholemeal toast with salted peanut butter. Peanut butter has a reputation as being high fat, but the type of fat it contains is just as healthy as olive oil and it is full of protein - a peanut butter sandwich is healthier than a cheese one.


i've been told diorialyte(sorry about the spelling) is supposed to be good it helps rehydrate you you just add it to the water and you only have a glass of it to drinkg


Well I had a 500ml cherry Powerade straight after my 28 min run this morning and so far, I feel great and no headache.

I don't know if it's completely down to the Powerade or just psychosomatic in that I wanted it to work, but - no headache or tiredness. Just bought another few bottles to keep me going over the next few runs :)


Hi Minuette,

I had exactly the same problem as you. I have long been prone to headaches/migraines and was having particular problems the morning after running/exercise.

I would spend the day before & after drinking loads of water to try and stave them off but it didn't help (I just ended up needing the loo all day), so I also read about electrolytes on the internet and so decided to try the isotonic sports drinks.

I have to say, I have had absolutely no headaches since doing this. It has really helped me a lot. I have been mostly having Lucozade Sport - I start sipping it about an hour beforehand and during and then I just have water afterwards.

I switched to the Lite versions about 6 months ago because I was a bit horrified by how much sugar is in the drinks and these have been great too. This is my only problem with them....they don't seem that healthy in terms of sugar & ingredients but i prefer it to feeling grotty all day after exercise. Maybe the suggestion of a pinch of salt in a drink works in a similar way?


I'm so glad that you had the same results as me! I'm much happier now that I seem to have found the answer because I was feeling quite miserable in the afternoons after a run and although I've only tried it once so far (twice if you count this morning but will see how I get on in the afternoon) I'm sure it's going to work.

Yes I found the Lucozade Sport I had this morning to be very sweet, the Powerade I had on Monday wasn't as sweet and I've bought another 4 bottles of this, but when these are finished I'm going to try the Lite versions.

I'm also ignoring the sugar content etc, as you are, because the benefits to me will be much more and I think we will have that window of an hour after a run when carbs etc are absorbed quicker to work off the sugar. But much better than having a headache!! :)


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