For short workouts, you'll probably be chugging water. But on long runs (more than an hour), you'll probably want something more substantial. If you want something with different taste or a slightly different nutrition profile than old standards such as Gatorade, try these hydration options that elite runners use.
Picture: Helen Cook/Flickr
So why not just drink water? Carbohydrates (including sugar) help performance, both by fuelling your muscles and by sending signals to your brain that change your perception of effort. As you sweat, you'll also want to replace the electrolytes, especially sodium, that you lose.
Runner's World surveyed a handful of elite athletes on their choices for mid-run hydration. Some went with popular brands, like Gatorade and PowerBar drinks, but here are some of the less obvious options:
- Nuun tablets drop into your water bottle and provide electrolytes, flavouring and a small amount of sweetener. You'll have to get your carbs from another source.
- Osmo Nutrition packets, also made to mix in to your water bottle, came recommended by a track and field runner who likes that they're "not loaded up with fake flavourings". (Instead, they're flavoured with fruit powder.) Osmo products come in men's and women's varieties, which they claim can make up for some of the performance decrease women see at certain times of their cycle.
- Coconut water was on our list of overrated "healthy" foods because it's too low in sodium and carbohydrates to make a good sports drink. It made the Runner's World list with the caveat that (surprise!) you have to add sodium and carbohydrates if you expect it to last you through a long workout.
Read the full article at Runner's World for more on elite athletes' hydration choices.
What Elites Drink Midrun [Runner's World]