Unless you're exclusively running and racing short distances, chances are you've consumed many-a gels, chews, water, electrolyte drinks and tabs, cookies, chips, candy, bacon or what have you, to keep your energy levels high enough to get you across that finish line. (Although, there has been a time when I've stopped and gotten water in the middle of a 4-mile xc race...don't judge, I guess I'm just programmed to stop when I see a table with water.) I've also been unfortunate enough to not be blessed with an iron stomach so choosing the right fuel and fueling at the right times has been just as difficult as running the ultramarathon distances themselves.
What gels taste the best? Which one offers more? How about salt tabs? Does one contain more sodium and potassium than the other? How about electrolyte drinks? Is Gatorade no longer acceptable?
Who knows? I don't and honestly, I may never know. But after countless races and training runs of vomiting up my gels, having upset stomachs from sports drinks, or having salt tabs the size of a horse pill stuck sideways in my throat, I finally came across something that worked for me.
Developed by an endurance athlete who also dealt with GI issues, his recent claim is it's "All you need, all day. Really."
Each serving (1 scoop with provided scooper) contains 303mg of sodium, 88mg of potassium, 25g of total carbs, 26mg of Calcium, and 14mg of Magnesium. One bottle per hour takes care of my nutritional/fueling needs for a 50k. I used it at the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-Mile, but miscalculated the amount I needed so I ran out before the race ended. Around mile 35, I started tanking because all I had for the 6 prior miles was just water and the Tailwind residue that was in my bottle. But for the 35 miles, I felt great.
Now it's all I use on runs longer than 2 hours. I'll still carry a gel or two, in case, but lately it's been to help other runners who haven't found Tailwind yet.