Race nutrition. A very long subject that won’t be covered in full here. This post is a review of products I have used and either liked or didn’t. I am merely telling you what race nutrition I’ve tried over the years.
Before we get started
Let’s get a few things out of the way. I AM NOT sponsored by any of these product brands. I AM NOT receiving any compensation for telling you about the products I have tried. I AM telling you about my experience with these products, so maybe you don’t have to do your own research. All brand names are copyright/trademarks of the parent companies.
Race nutrition brands
If you’ve ever tried to look up products/supplements for racing, you’ll be shocked at all the choices. There are so many brands and choices out there, you may never get to use them all. I’m gonna tell you what I’ve tried and what works for me. These products may not work for you, it’s all about experimenting for yourself. I’m not getting deep into calories/ingredients/protein/carbs, etc., just relaying what I know from my usage.
So here we go in no particular order:
Macro bars – gomacro.com
I use these nutrition bars for not only racing, but training days and work days. Having a physically demanding day job, these bars have helped me through a lot of long days. As with most nutrition products, they come in a variety of flavors. Some have high protein/high fiber formulas, some do not. Different bars for different daily needs. Half a bar before my Olympic triathlon start gets me through the swim segment. The other half usually gets eaten on the bike segment, to prepare me for the run segment. Longer races require more, as you would expect.
On non-race days, they sometimes get used as a meal replacement, or to keep me from eating junk.
Tailwind – tailwindnutrition.com
Tailwind is my go-to beverage for long-distance/high-intensity races/workouts. Their slogan says it’s “all the nutrition you need all day”. While I haven’t experimented with that, I have used it to get me through a long race/workout. I recently used Tailwind during a marathon and a half-marathon. I felt I had enough energy (and wasn’t hungry) to complete both with just Tailwind and some gel. For longer bike segments, Tailwind seems to work very well, especially alternating with water.
Multiple flavors – some caffeinated, some not – and easily mixed in water.
Stinger Waffles – honeystinger.com
Stinger waffles are lightweight (in your pocket and on your belly) and tasty. They can provide that much-needed last-minute boost during a run or bike. Depending on the flavor, some are sweeter than others, but they stick with you. Stingers can give you a quick boost, followed by longer-lasting fuel to get you through. I have used them before a swim, during a bike and also on the run with no ill-effects.
Multiple flavor options are available, and the packages are thin enough for pockets and bike boxes. I like to break them up in the packet ahead of time, which makes them easier to handle on the course.
Skratch Hydration – skratchlabs.com
Skratch Labs’ products are awesome as well. They have several flavor varieties, each very tasty. The lemon-flavored hyper hydration recovery mix is one of my favorites. I run a lot in the late afternoons in the South Florida heat, and I use this afterwards. Their regular hydration mixes are good as well, and lighter-tasting than Tailwind (though not as long-lasting). I have used them on both the bike and while running, with great results.
Electrolyte replacement without heavy sugars, low in calories and great tasting.
Nuun – nuunlife.com
Nuun is another awesome electrolyte replacement product I have used a lot. Nuun comes in tablet form, easy to toss into a water bottle and to keep in a race pocket. It has an effervescent (bubbly) taste and comes in tons of flavors and mixes. Some flavors have caffeine, some have immunity boosters, but all give you the electrolyte replacement you need for a race/workout. I keep a couple of tablets in a baggie to use during a bike or run, and to bring to use at work.
Low in calories but not in taste, a good choice to get back those lost electrolytes.
Science in Sport Gels – scienceinsport.com
I’ve just started using these gels as an experiment, and I’m liking them so far. Sport in Science calls them “Isotonic” gels, which means they are easy to digest and speedy in replacing your electrolytes. A little larger than their competition, I have found them to be lighter-tasting and flavorful. They come in a number of flavors, some with caffeine, some without, as well as electrolytes in various formulas.
Their lighter taste means I haven’t had to wash them down with water, saving the water for me when I need it.
That was a quick-and-easy description of some of the products I use for race nutrition. I have provided links to all the product homepages if you wish to research further on your own. If you have a favorite product you like to use, leave me a comment below and I’ll check it out.