Why I Take SaltStick Caps With Me On Every Long Run

My secret weapon against painful leg cramps when running


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When I discover a running nutrition product that genuinely improves my running performance and joy for the sport, I feel compelled to recommend it to the Trail & Kale Community so that they too can enjoy the same benefits that I do. SaltStick Caps are one of those products. Sometimes referred to as ‘salt stick’ or salt sticks’, SaltStick Caps are a brand of electrolyte salt capsules that are a game-changer when it comes to help running performance and reducing your chances of getting muscle cramps while running.

When I first started running, I would fall victim to running cramps a lot, until I gained the right experience, insights and techniques to combat it. The worst running cramps I would experience would normally be in my calfs and quadriceps, because these parts of my body are working particularly hard when I run trails.

Experiencing muscle cramps while running can be debilitating, extremely painful, and put an end to my run – not to mention resulting in a longer recovery time as a result of the sore muscles from the cramps themselves. It seems I am particularly prone to muscle cramps from exercise as I tend to sweat a lot when exercising intensively, which is pretty common for many runners and other althetes.

Looking for a solution to regularly experiencing cramps while running I found these salt stick capsules.

I now know when running cramps they are about to strike and how to stop them before they do. For a detailed look into my process read this: How Can I Prevent Muscle Cramps While Running?

In this short post, I explain why I believe SaltStick Caps are one of the most important fuel sources to always take with you on your long trail runs, from half marathons to ultra marathons, as well as for other running efforts and endurance sports, especially if you are particularly prone to getting muscle cramps while running.

saltStick Caps - Trail & Kale - wm-2-min

3 reasons why I always run with SaltStick Caps in my running hydration pack vest

Salt Stick Caps Are Consistently Effective

Since using SaltStick Caps to prevent muscle cramps, they have consistently delivered when it comes to preventing running cramps. I tend to use them during strenuous trail races, ultra marathon races or training sessions for distances from 20km to 50km.

The reason I mention this particular range is that Salt Stick recommends 1 capsule per 30-60 minutes during activity, with a maximum of 10 capsules a day. So if you work out the maths, then that leaves you with a maximum of roughly 5 hours of exercise if taking a tablet once every 30 minutes.

In reality, though, I don’t start taking the Salt Stick capsules until about 1.5 hours into a race and I only need 1 every hour for the first couple of hours. After that, I start taking one every 30 mins. So that gives me around 7 hours of use, perfect for an intense day out on the trails.

Salt Stick Capsules – Size & Portability

SaltStick Caps are really small which makes them easy to take with you on a race or training run.

saltStick Caps - Trail & Kale - wm-3-min
A SaltStick Capsule next to a one cent coin

I seal my SaltStick caps in a re-usable plastic bag so that if it rains then the capsules will stay protected and won’t dissolve before you get a chance to use them. These little bags can also be used for storing a mobile phone for protection from rain or sweat.

saltStick Caps - Trail & Kale - wm-4-min
Putting the Salt Sticks in a small plastic bag is a lightweight but effective while running
saltStick Caps - Trail & Kale - wm-5-min
The bag of Salt Sticks folds down to something like this ready for storing in your race vest

SaltStick Caps Contain Clean and simple ingredients

Looking at the Salt Stick website, the average athlete loses about 11oz (315mL) of sweat in 30-60 minutes of activity, which contains key electrolytes in a known quantity: sodium (220 mg); potassium (63 mg); magnesium (8 mg) and calcium (16 mg).

Salt Stick electrolytes are formulated to closely resemble the electrolyte profile lost in sweat: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The Salt Stick capsules also contain Chloride, Vitamin D3, Hypromellose, magnesium stearate and stearic acid.


I have been using SaltStick Caps for many years now and I’m still recommending them to people who tell me they often get running cramps because they sweat a lot during exercise. I hope my little explanation of how and why I use SaltStick Caps to prevent muscle cramping, will help you prevent muscle cramps on the trails or during your endurance sport of choice, too.


Got a Question about SaltStick Caps?

If you have a question about the SaltStick Caps, please ask me in the comments below and I’ll answer based on my experience using them.

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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