Right, rest day today. Just as well really. My legs felt quite tired walking up to the office this morning and back up the hill this afternoon. So I thought I’d catch up on some the the things I’ve been meaning to write. First on the list is a review of Tailwind Nutrition.
I have tried various things for fuelling on long runs. It’s odd. I have a pretty cast iron stomach generally but that does not carry through to running. When it comes to running I have the most ridiculously sensitive tummy. So any sort of gels and blocs are out unless I am actually sitting on a toilet. I also really can’t stand the artificial taste and the texture just freaks me out. I tried some cliff bars for fuel and for recovery – apart from the pretty artificial taste, they didn’t do anything for recovery other than pile on calories and fuelling is pointless when the only place the fuel makes you run is to the loo.
I tried porridge bars which I do like but they’re quite dry and I can only eat a little bit and need water with them and they’re just a bit of a pain to carry and then repack if you’ve had a little bit and also I probably need more than one bar if I’m doing over half marathon distance and it was all getting complicated. That said, Stoats porridge bars are awesome and I love them for long walks, picnics or a well needed boost at work. They powered me round two marathons but the downside is having to stop and walk for quite a bit to eat, drink some water, wait till it’s all settled…. It was sort of fine for what I’ve done and the lots of walking approach to long distance but I don’t think it works well for trying to run a bit more or at least keep the walking intervals consistently short.
Then we tried some torq energy drink which was used at an event we volunteered at. That just gave me horrible tummy cramps – I mentioned it here. Kath’s experiences are similar. We get on best with home made things and real food like dried apricots and nuts but they’re not always easy to carry on a run unless carrying a pack and not practical to take/make if we’re travelling abroad for a run/race (and we do always have half an eye in the Dopey Challenge!). So we’d pretty much given up on finding something easy, convenient and effective that would travel well. Then we kept seeing comments about tailwind. Lots of people were saying that it really worked for them and that it was nice to tummies.
We ordered a starter pack. It can contain 1 stick pack of each of their flavours – 7 packs in total – but we decided not to get any of their caffeine containing flavours (Green Tea Buzz, Raspberry Buzz and Tropical Buzz) because Kath is really sensitive to caffeine.
So the stick packs are dead simple to make up – just add water, give it a stir and/or a shake. Done. I tried it on a couple of short runs – you can never be too careful! First the lemon flavour and then the naked unflavoured one. On both occasions there was no ill effect on my tummy at all. From those runs I can’t really say whether the fuelling is good or not because I didn’t go far enough. They were just a tummy test. I then used another lemon one at the Lakeland Trails event where I was out for 2 hours and taking little sips throughout did I think help. I had some more the day after on a longer run and it definitely helped there – maybe I felt it more because I already had tired legs. I tried the mandarin orange flavour on the 10 mile adventure to Haworth last weekend and from that experience I think I can say it works – when I was feeling really flakey I had a good few sips and then kept sipping at more regular intervals and felt better and then fine for the rest of the run. I don’t think just water would have done that.
According to the instructions though I am possibly not actually having enough (which is presumably why I went flakey in the first place) – they suggest one stick pack in 500-700 ml of water to sip over an hour. I don’t drink that much when running, ever. I made up 500 ml and had about 2/3 of that over the two hours we were out on Haworth Moor. I’m still experimenting with what really works over the longer distances/durations and in different conditions but I am really excited to have found something to fuel with that is easy, convenient, seemingly effective and that is nice to my tummy. I’m sure I’ll get the mix right for me over time.
Here’s what’s in tailwind for those science, nutrition, whatever geeks among you (from their website)
The flavours are all quite nice – they’re subtle and not in your face artificial. They don’t leave an aftertaste and I found all them refreshing. I think I actually most like the naked one. Kath’s favourite is the berry flavour and we’ve just ordered a multi-serving bag of that (they come in 30 or 50 serving bags). In addition we’ve ordered more stick packs to take with us on our travels – we’ve ordered lemon, berry and naked ones; too much of a risk having the mandarin ones because it’s really just a matter of time before we get water bottles mixed up and it all goes horribly wrong (Kath is allergic).
So tailwind gets a big thumbs up from me for ease, for taste, for effectiveness and also for non stickiness and non messiness. Water bottles just rinse out easily and there’s no residue or aftertaste or anything. There’s no gooey or sticky consistency that you feel like you can’t wash off your hands or out of your bottle. Really it’s all just as it should be.
It’s not the cheapest but it doesn’t compare badly at all to other products out there and honestly, I’d rather pay a pound or two more (on a 50 serving bag for example) for something that doesn’t give me tummy cramps! There’s something else though. It’s a gimmick in a way but my sort of gimmick and it feels like a genuine gimmick (yes yes I know). The customer service is lovely. There’s always a personal touch and if you tell them what your next event is, they may just email you to say well done. Here’s what I got from Tracy at Tailwind checking on me after the weekend she thought I was running in the Lakes
As it turned out – she was a week early and after we’d had a little email exchange and she checked my Hawkshead 10k result I got another one:
Hello!!! Congratulations you were not last on the list 😉 as you suspected!!! Well done you!
Now maybe I am just a sucker for marketing gimmicks but that really did make me smile!