It’s hot, it’s humid, you’re thirsty. While water is good for runs shorter than 60 minutes, you’ll likely need something more for longer runs, says Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. If you’re training for a distance race, it’s important to get used to whatever drink will be served on the course. But elites can choose whatever they want. (Yes, sometimes they’re sponsored, and we’ve made note of that.) Which got us wondering, what do they sip on the run? We checked in with some of the top runners to get their picks.
Source: What Elites Drink Midrun
The article is basically a rundown of all the brand names in the market, attached to what I expect are sponsored marathoners.
I’ve heard different perspectives. One was “train with water, race with sugar”. The idea was to leverage the boost from the sugar. I think that really depends on what you’re doing, for how long, and weather conditions. Water doesn’t have potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron… The last two can be particularly important in endurance events, moreso that sugar/carbs.
Another perspective is that if you are training for a race, you should use what the race will provide. I do not think this is particularly prudent. In the past year, I’ve never noticed or been informed what a race provider will make available. You can infer a little from the event sponsors, but some sponsors have a variety of products. Hammer Nutrition for example provides Heed and Perpetuem, suggesting the latter for activities 2+ hours long. It can get costly switching between products if you race that often, but more importantly – what if you have a reaction? It’d be good to know going into an event, but sticking to water if you are not able to pack your own is the safe choice.
The perspective that I agree with the most was to find out what works for you. Just as there’s variety in our shape, size, and various athletic abilities – there’s variety in our physiology. We’re not all lactose intolerant, have food allergies, or even eat the same food. It’d be nice if someone could tell us, and maybe in the future through a DNA/etc scan that could be possible. Keep in mind that there’s nothing to say what works now, might not in the future. A couple of years back I could really notice when a Gu gel kicked in – these days, I don’t notice and haven’t been using them for a while now.
It can be costly to train using what you would in a race. But it’s prudent if you want to account for as many variables as you can when it comes time to do the actual event. Failing to prepare is preparation for failure… While I might show up earlier than most to a triathlon, I spend a lot of time thinking about and visualizing T1 (swim to bike transition) and T2 (bike to run transition). It can be very costly if things aren’t setup for refueling, I go the wrong way, or run afoul of the bike mount/dismount lines.
I’ve used Heed in the past. It worked for me, and it’s nice to see they have more flavour options now. But my initial takeaway was how much carbs were present based on dose. One time, while I felt great I noticed I was consuming a lot more than I usually did. When I ran dry, I was licking my lips because of all the carbs/etc present.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I use Nuun tablets. These are very easy to use – just add water. There’s no sugar, and you can cut the tablet up if you want to tweak the dose though it’s not as convenient as Heed powder. Some types of Nuun tablets have caffeine – it’s clearly marked on the tube, as caffeine can be an issue for people. Caffeine is a diuretic – it will make you pee. Nuun has various flavours. If you find one you don’t like, I’ll swap you for some of mine.
Once you find what works for you, find an online retailer and stock up 😉 😀