Fueling Runs With Drinks, Not Gels?

#1
I generally take a gel or two with me when I do my long runs, but I don't particularly like carrying them or using them while I am running. They work fine and I don't have any issues with using them, I just find them to be sort annoying and inconvenient.

I also take a handheld water bottle with me on my long runs and I have been wondering if there are any drinks or drink mixes that I could use to provide both hydration and fuel for long runs?

There seem to be various options out there and it is kind of overwhelming, so if anyone has any experience or recommendations for using a drink for fueling long runs, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 
#2
Can't offer any personal experience, but I get a lot of targeted ads for Maurten. If it's good enough for Kipchoge then it's good enough for us!

I am just about through my stockpile of Clifbloks (which I really like) but I may give this a shot because the idea of getting everything you need through a drink is pretty appealing.
 

RW Staff

Administrator
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#3
@ColorBlindJames I am in the same boat as you in regards to not liking gels on my runs. A couple of drink mixes on the market will provide both hydration and fuel for your long runs. @imnothammer hit the nail on the head with Maurten. Not only does it offer the sodium and sugars for hydration and energy, it provides between 160 and 320 calories for fuel. If you do not mind that it does not have any flavor, this is one of our top sellers.

Alternatively, Tailwind is another popular brand I sold a lot in retail, especially to customers training for ultra-marathons. It does not give as many calories as Maurten, but endurance athletes have enjoyed the taste and how easy it is on their body.

GU also makes the GU Roctane Energy Drink (Summit Tea is a great flavor) alongside the gels. This is designed to provide endurance athletes with fuel and hydration. We had Magda here a few years ago, and she said that was the only thing she used in the Western States 100 mile race. It provided her with plenty of fuel and kept her hydrated in the heat of the day.

I hope all this info helps!

Tyler
RW Staff
 
#4
I was using water and gels until i bonked during a marathon with a lot of vert (9k). The aid stations where stocked with tailwind and the best watermelon I’ve ever had. It brought me back to life fairly quickly and I’ve been using it ever since. I enjoy most of the flavors. I still suppliment with the occasional gel on really hard efforts but tailwind takes care of most of my needs. The maurten stuff is a little pricey for me.
 
#5
I was using water and gels until i bonked during a marathon with a lot of vert (9k). The aid stations where stocked with tailwind and the best watermelon I’ve ever had. It brought me back to life fairly quickly and I’ve been using it ever since. I enjoy most of the flavors. I still suppliment with the occasional gel on really hard efforts but tailwind takes care of most of my needs. The maurten stuff is a little pricey for me.
lol - your watermelon reminds me of when I used to be into cycling and I did a three day ride in between NY and Boston. I swear I have never had a better apple than the apple at one of the aid stations after a particularly grueling hill climb.
 
#6
I’ve always thought it was a good training method to avoid mid-run fuel? I know it takes practice to eat/drink while running, so that could be a useful thing to do during training. But I had come to the understanding that doing long runs without fueling would make your body more efficient; especially when you have fuel in a race. Is this not the case? It is more of a person to person preference?
 
#7
I’m sure it varies a bit person to person. Although it might be a good idea to get your body used to processing calories under the stress of a long run. For me i run early in the am typically on an empty stomach. That being said I feel like I need the calories if I’m going to be out there for a few hours to keep the energy going. My shorter efforts i don’t usually fuel. I’m by no means an expert on the topic but I would recommend the individual to experiment and get to know your body, what it requires and responds to.
 
#8
I’ve always thought it was a good training method to avoid mid-run fuel? I know it takes practice to eat/drink while running, so that could be a useful thing to do during training. But I had come to the understanding that doing long runs without fueling would make your body more efficient; especially when you have fuel in a race. Is this not the case? It is more of a person to person preference?
There are some studies that have shown some effectiveness in increasing glycogen stores by completing a fasted long run and refueling fully after. The idea is to deplete your glycogen stores and then restore them to get your body to try to learn to store more glycogen in the muscles that were depleted. However, this puts a lot of stress on your body and so isn't a good idea to do very often in a training cycle. Otherwise you may just be breaking your body down more and in doing so counteracting the benefit of any increased glycogen stores. I think most people would get more benefit from just learning to fuel themselves as much as possible so they are prepared for race day.

As for the original question of gels or drinks, I use drink mixes for the vast majority of my runs. I've used quite a few different ones. Right now I am mostly using Gatorade Endurance. I usually only use gels on either 18+ mile long runs (as I want a larger amount of fuel in total) or during the summer when it is very hot and I am having to drink a larger amount of fluids. When drinking a large amount of fluid mixes it can be a bit too much sugar to absorb. I have used slightly diluted mixes in the summer sometimes which can work well too.
 
#9
Tailwind, Nuun, and Skratch are all popular brands of drink mixes to fuel your long runs. I have tried them all and they are about the same. Tailwind might taste a little better than the other two I have listed.
 
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