Are you also sick of using gels? I know I am. They’re often too sweet, sticky, messy, often don’t taste very good and they can irritate your stomach. I already stopped using gels, I used chews instead (the Powerbar shots and the Clif bloks to be precise). But that eliminated only part of the problem (mostly they tasted better than gels, but that was about it). Sometimes I used them in combination with sports drinks, but problem with regular sports drinks for me was either that they were also too sweet, didn’t contain any calories (I don’t run to lose any weight and I burn through lots and lots of calories with my heart rate, so no calories really wasn’t an option) or they didn’t contain the right amount/combination of electrolytes (there always seemed to be at least one ingredient missing that I did want to be in there).
When I ran my first half marathon in 2016 I fuelled during the race with chews and the sports drinks they had at the aid station (Lucozade). First problem I noticed was that after a couple of hours of exercise my GI tract starts shutting down (I need all the blood and energy elsewhere and digesting food no longer is a priority for my body, since sustaining a heart rate of over 200 for at least 3 hours or more requires my body to make these choices). Which means it becomes more difficult, if not impossible, to eat and digest the chews, which results in me not getting enough energy and that doesn’t help my race performance. I am still able to drink, but a whole bunch of sweet Lucozade wasn’t such a great idea either. I also learned it isn’t such a pleasant feeling when your GI tract starts back up again after the race, but that’s just something I’ll have to accept and I now have a bottle of Coca Cola at hand for when that happens (yes, that helps).
All of this made me realise I needed to find something else to provide me energy if I wanted to run a full marathon. That’s when I started to use Maurten. I ran both Berlin and Paris starting the race with a bottle of Maurten and switching to aid station sports drinks after I finished the bottle. That did definitely help, but there were still some things I didn’t find ideal about using Maurten, such as flavour, texture and how it dissolves. So when I heard about Tailwind, which is a similar product, I decided to go and try that instead. Although Maurten forms more of a gel in your stomach, both drinks provide energy and promise not to upset your stomach. I’ve used Tailwind during this year’s Alpe d’HuZes and during several training runs. Even though I haven’t done a marathon with Tailwind yet, I must say I prefer Tailwind over Maurten.
Why? Because Tailwind dissolves much more easily and completely (with Maurten it takes forever to dissolve and there are all these little gel particles floating around in your drink), it has different flavours which aren’t too sweet (Maurten tastes a bit like wet cardboard to me, so I always needed to add a flavour to it) and the proportions don’t matter as much. With Maurten the amount of powder and the amount of water really matter (it has to be the right amount of water otherwise it supposedly doesn’t work) and the kind of water matters too (too much calcium in the water isn’t good apparently). But I don’t like having to worry about that (I might be travelling for the race, how do I know how much calcium the water has over these?!). With Tailwind it doesn’t matter, I can decide the amount of water and the amount of powder myself based on how strong I like the drink and how much calories I need. Which means that if you’d only wanted to fuel with Maurten you’d have to mix again during the race, while with Tailwind you could just take a stronger mix with you and drink some extra water at the aid stations.
|Electrolytes||Sodium||Sodium, potassium, calcium & magnesium|
|Caffeine||No||Some flavours do contain caffeine.|
|Shelf life||1 year||2 years|
As a comparison, a packet of Powerbar Shots contains 211 calories and 48 grams of carbs and would cost me €1,65 (but only contains salt) and a packet of Clif bloks contains 180 calories and 46 grams of carbs and would cost me €2,75 (but doesn’t contain magnesium and there isn’t a flavour with caffeine, at least not available over here, I know they do exist). So I do think these drinks can be a good substitute for gels or chews.
Note: both the Maurten and the Tailwind were purchased by myself. This is not a sponsored blog post.