Although running is an individual sport (except for a few relays in track and the team aspect in cross country) there is nothing simple about it. Some could argue that the 100 meter dash is so short, you just line up run for about 9-13 seconds depending how fast you are and you’re done. However for anyone who looks to continually better their personal record or chase the world record, if you are Usain Bolt, you realize that more goes into achieving that PR other than just lining up at the start line. It takes practice, dedication and a few lessons learned along the way.
During my recent Sioux Falls Marathon I was thrilled for race day. My training had gone very well with no injury downtime and I was ready to give my best shot at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You can read my full report here, but in short my nutrition failed me. Actually I failed my nutrition. In my training runs leading up to the marathon I ran my long runs with none to little water, sports drink, or food during them. I had felt good during each of them and still struggle to not be uneasy about carrying extra things. I had planned to the aid stations as my water/sports drink fueling spots and had planned to have my wife at designated miles with an array of fueling options. When I went to take food from her around mile 8/9, my stomach rejected it. I have now had the opportunity to hone my nutritional strategy and realize that it was most likely the sugary sports drink my stomach didn’t like, so I’ve been on a quest.
I needed something with electrolytes, a little bit of sodium, but no sugars or high fructose corn syrup. My stomach isn’t too fussy, however when I’m hard at it during a race I’ve learned it doesn’t like sugars. Luckily through a few friend’s posts on Twitter, I came across Nuun Hydration. Lucky for me we carry these at the company I work at (Swanson Health Products) so I placed an employee order for the Tri-Berry flavor. The directions for them are simple, add one tablet to 16 oz of water, wait two minutes and like magic before your eyes you have an electrolyte enhanced drink. My first step was to drink one during an afternoon of work and make sure it didn’t cause any unpleasant situations when my body was not working out. From the first sip, it reminded me of sugary sports drink but without the super sugary flavor and more thirst quenching. It has a very enjoyable flavor so it doesn’t come off as bad water, but definitely not as sugary tasting as pop or soda. Of course there was no problems and so I took it on the road with me. Through about a dozen trials now during my training I have not had any stomach issues to speak of.
If you are struggling with sports drinks during your workouts I encourage you to give Nuun a try. Of course I’d suggest you get it at Swanson and you can get a $5 coupon by signing up here, but more importantly as a fellow runner I hope you try it in an effort to get better to achieve that lesson learned that’ll take your running to the next level. As new runners often tell me, the running community wants each and everyone to get better. We compete against ourselves with the encourage of others all around us. Thanks for taking time to read this and I hope it helps you.