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Hydration - page 2

High-Sugar Sports Drink Sales up 35% as School Starts

in BLOGS/USA

Despite the health risks, parents are stockpiling gatorade and similar ‘sports’ drinks as kids head back to school and back on the field.

Despite the American Academy of Paediatrics and many other reputable organisations, including the Connecticut state government, attempting to limit consumption of the sugary beverages, sports drinks experienced a 35 percent spike in sales over the course of five weeks leading up to school starting thus year. The numbers come courtesy of a recent Nielsen insights report in which parents appear to be apathetic towards increased dental costs and obesity rates.

“Given the current epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity, we recommend the elimination of calorie-containing beverages from a well-balanced diet,” reads the official AAP stance on sports drinks, which carries a notable caveat: Low-fat or fat-free milk, given its Calcium & Vitamin D content. 

Though some research indicates that certain young athletes may benefit from the combination of carbohydrates, protein, or electrolytes sports drinks offer, those studies are greatly outnumbered by studies accentuating the opposite. For most kids engaged in routine physical activities, doing an impression of that awesome Gatorade sweat ad merely translates into empty calories and extra trips to the dentist. Still, all that slurping is understandable if you look at the market; given that most schools have phased out selling sodas, beverage manufacturers have been pushing sports drinks, which have become the third-fastest growing beverage category in the U.S. after bottled water and energy drinks since 2006.

Not all hydration is created equal. SOS has 5x less sugar & calories than Gatorade. Try it here today

Since that time, some school districts have fought policy battles over sports drinks. Connecticut banned them from schools along with soda in 2006 and the The U.S. Agriculture Department launched an initiative to get Gatorade and drinks like it out of schools in 2013. But all that legislative effort is largely pointless if parents are going to send kids with sports drinks in their back packs anyways.

Still, the Nielsen data wasn’t all bad news and shows that parents are at least paying more attention to labels. They found that consumers spend 37 percent more on sports drinks that are free of artificial sweeteners and 19 percent more on drinks free of sugar in the same five-week back to school period. The absence of artificial colours and the presence of antioxidant properties also boosted sales 25 and 29 percent, respectively. And the most popular item of all were apples with $243.5 million in sales.

Hydration On The Run

in BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING
Lemonade Hand Off
Adapted from Matt Fitzgerald

Hydration during running is not as complicated as you may have been led to believe.

When you run, you sweat. The more you sweat, the more your blood volume decreases. The more your blood volume decreases, the harder your heart has to work to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.

Sounds dangerous, but it’s really not. Runners almost never experience dehydration levels sufficient to cause major health consequences. But normal levels of dehydration will make you feel uncomfortable and cause you to slow down.

Drinking while you run will limit these negative effects of dehydration. But what should you drink, how much, and when?

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it here

In the past, athletes were encouraged to drink as much as possible during exercise, or at least to drink enough to completely offset dehydration (that is, to drink enough to prevent any decrease in body weight during exercise). However, it is now understood that this is bad advice, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is possible to drink too much during exercise. Forcing yourself to swallow more fluid than your body really needs while running may cause gastrointestinal distress, and in extreme cases it can cause a dangerous condition known as water intoxication, or hyponatremia. Secondly, research has shown that drinking to completely offset sweating offers no advantage with respect to performance or body temperature regulation compared to drinking by thirst.

The new exercise hydration advice is in fact to drink according to your thirst. As long as you keep an adequate supply of a palatable drink accessible during your runs, you will naturally drink enough to optimize your performance if you just drink as often and as much as your thirst dictates.

Dehydration only affects performance in workouts lasting longer than an hour, so you don’t have to drink during workouts that are shorter than an hour. However, you can if you like.

Why Walking Throughout The Day Is Just As Important As Your Weekend Exercise

in BLOGS

We’re well aware that sitting all day is damaging your body in countless ways, but counteracting that isn’t just about exercising. As the Wall Street Journal points out, it’s also about getting up and walking more.

The focus for most health departments has been to push people to get about 30 minutes of exercise a day, but exercise alone isn’t enough if you spend the rest of your day sitting around:

A study that followed more than 240,000 adults over 8½ years found that watching a large amount of television was associated with a higher risk of death, including from cardiovascular disease—even for participants who reported seven or more hours a week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise…

“Our results suggest that exercise alone may not be enough to eliminate risks associated with too much sitting,” says Charles Matthews, lead author of the study and an investigator with the National Institutes of Health.

The reason is pretty simple, all the movement you do throughout the day, from getting up to grab a glass of water to doing the dishes, burns calories and increase metabolism. Even if you’re exercising daily, sitting all day counteracts that. The best thing you can do? Walk more. The goal is to hit about 10,000 steps a day (which is the equivalent of about four miles. We typically average around 5,000 steps a day). You can track your steps with fitness tracking gear, a cheap pedometer, or even a free app like Moves for iPhone or Accupedo for Android.

Feeling tired this afternoon? The #1 cause of daytime fatigue is dehydration. Try SOS HERE and feel the difference

Since you may need to essentially double the amount of steps you take a day, you might have to get creative with how you spend your day. We’ve heard plenty of tricks to do this before, like walking up the stairs instead of taking an elevator (walking up 10 stairs is the equivalent of taking 38 steps on the ground), parking further away in the parking lot, and getting up throughout the day to walk around the office. But if you still want to sit around and watch TV, the Wall Street Journal has a simple fix with surprising results:

Dr. Bassett says a doctoral student in his department conducted a study in which 58 people watching 90 minutes of television marched in place in front of the TV during commercial breaks. “They increased their steps by about 3,000 per day just by doing this during commercials,” says Dr. Bassett. “That’s equivalent to about 30 minutes of walking.”

That’s a pretty big boost to your step count, and it doesn’t really require that much effort on your part (although you may annoy anyone watching TV with you).

Hard Math: Adding Up Just How Little We Actually Move | The Wall Street Journal

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it HERE

To Burn Off A Soda, You’ll Have To Run 50 Minutes

in BLOGS/RECOVERY

As a society, we don’t pay much attention to nutrition information when we eat out.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report estimates just 8 percent of Americans use nutritional information when deciding what to order.

So, what might make us pay attention? Well, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have a theory.

Calories are listed next to menu items in a Starbucks coffee shop in 2008 in New York City. Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Instead of just listing calories, why not also include how many miles of walking or minutes of running it would take to burn off the calories you order. This could help people put the calorie counts in context.

“People don’t really understand what it means to say a typical soda has 250 calories,” says Sara Bleich, an associate professor in the department of health Policy and management at Johns Hopkins.

“So, if we’re going to put this information in restaurants,” Bleich says, listing the miles of walking it would take to work it off “may be the more persuasive way.”

Bleich and her team were interested to know how low-income tweens and teenagers would respond to this kind of messaging. So she and her colleagues posted calorie and “miles to walk” signs in corner stores in predominantly black neighborhoods in Baltimore.

Since sodas are a common purchase among teens, the signs focused on beverages, pointing out that a typical 20-ounce soda has 250 calories, which would take 5 miles of walking — or 50 minutes of running — for a 110-pound adolescent to burn off. (It would take a little less time for an adult with a higher body weight to use up the energy in one of those sodas.)

“We sat in these stores for hours and watched what kids were doing,” Bleich says. And her team documented that among the roughly 35 percent of teens who noticed the signs, the calorie and walking information shaped their choices.

One of the posters used in the study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Sara Bleich/Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Before the miles-of-walking signs went up, the teens were purchasing about 203 calories’ worth of sugary drinks. After the signs were installed, the number of sugary drink calories purchased dropped to 179. So not a huge drop, but a significant change.

Kids also started buying smaller-size drinks. Before the signs went up, more than half of teens were buying 16-ounce or larger servings. After the signs were installed, the purchases of large-size beverages dropped to 37 percent. The findings are published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Bleich says when she started the research project, she drove through the Baltimore neighborhoods where the study was to be carried out. These neighborhoods are “low-income, heavy drug use,” Bleich says. “[There are] all sorts of social disadvantages.” And she recalls thinking, “Who the heck is going to care how many calories are in the sodas that they’re drinking?”

But, now that she’s documented that the signs do make a difference, she says she’s very encouraged.

“So to me, the message is: Among a population for whom health is probably not a primary concern, we’re [seeing] a significant effect,” Bleich says.

And, she says, her hunch is that if she carried out the same study among higher-income populations, “I think the effects would be even bigger.”

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it HERE

Spilling The Beans on Caffeine

in BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY

Hydrate, caffeinate, repeat. It’s a way of life for those with an active lifestyle. So what is it about caffeine? Can it really be that good for performance?

Who can benefit from caffeine?

Caffeine can have positive performance improvements across a range of different sports and in both males and females.

Performance improvements of ~3% have been found in the lab, however, it’s difficult to predict precisely the improvements we can expect from caffeine in ‘real life’ training and racing, as other factors such as tactics or weather conditions can influence results. It’s also important to know that individual responses to caffeine are highly varied. Some athletes may find that caffeine can have negative effects on performance while others find that caffeine offers them no benefit at all.

Why use caffeine?

It was once thought that caffeine increased the use of fat as a fuel thereby ‘sparing’ muscle glycogen. However, we now know that the most significant benefits of caffeine come from its effects on the brain. More specifically, caffeine is able to act as an adenosine receptor antagonist. By blocking the action of adenosine, caffeine influences the central nervous system. This can improve your perception of fatigue, resulting in a longer period of sustained work.

In simple terms – you can improve your ability to ‘go harder for longer’ before the effects of fatigue set in, improving your performance.

What caffeine product works best?

Coffee, cola drinks, caffeinated gels, caffeinated gum…the array of caffeine containing products available is huge. But is any one source better than another?

In general, no.

Studies have found that the beneficial effects of caffeine are seen across a variety of different products. Where it becomes tricky is that different products (and even different brands of the same product) have different amounts of caffeine. Knowing how much caffeine you are consuming is important as there can be a fine line between the amount which improves performance and the level at which negative side effects can occur.

It’s important to consider the diuretic effects of caffeine, always remember to stay hydrated with SOS Hydration 

The list below provides some examples of how much caffeine is found in a range of products – be aware though, formulations frequently change so it’s best to double check the packing to be sure.

Product Serve Caffeine per serve (mg)
Instant coffee 250ml cup 60 (range: 12-169)
Espresso Standard shot 107 (range: 25-214)
Iced coffee (commercial) 500ml bottle 30-200
Tea 250ml cup 27 (range: 9-51)
Hot chocolate 250ml cup 5-10
Coca-Cola 600ml bottle 58
Diet Coke 600ml bottle 77
Red Bull 250ml can 80

When to take caffeine?

Unlike some supplements, you often feel the benefits of caffeine soon after consumption (regardless of when levels peak in the blood). Performance improvements have been found regardless of whether the caffeine is taken one hour before an event, split in to doses over an event or taken only in the latter stages of an event when feelings of fatigue are most likely to really kick in.

The duration of the event will obviously have an impact on timing of caffeine intake. In shorter events (e.g. cycling criterium, sprint triathlon) where there is little opportunity to eat or drink during the event, having caffeine before the event is the most useful approach. On the other hand, during events lasting several hours (e.g. ironmanmarathon) having caffeine before the event and/or topping up during the event, or saving the caffeine for the final stages, is more likely to be beneficial. Individuals should practise a variety of different strategies to determine the approach that works best for them.

Regular coffee drinkers can relax – there is no need to stop having caffeine in the days leading up to an event if you want to use caffeine during an event. Withdrawing from caffeine offers no additional benefit and will more likely lead to negative effects associated with caffeine withdrawal (e.g. headaches, irritability).

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it here

How can I use caffeine during my training?

Here’s a quick summary of how you can use caffeine to help you go harder for longer:

  • More isn’t better. Usually ~1-3mg caffeine / kg body weight (e.g. 70-210mg caffeine for a 70kg person) improves performance. Higher intakes won’t offer an extra benefit and will more likely have negative side effects (e.g. shakiness or increased heart-rate)
  • You are unique! Individual responses to caffeine are highly varied – start small
  • Do the sums. Make sure you have a (rough) idea of how much you are consuming
  • Be flexible. Trial different amounts, types and timing of caffeine
  • Don’t sacrifice sleep. Will caffeine negatively impact your recovery?
  • Practise! Always trial during training to work out the best strategy for you

TRY SOS HYDRATION TODAY

Magnesium and Muscle Cramps

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING/TRIATHLON

Anyone who has suffered from a muscle cramp during or after exercise understands that it’s definitely something worth trying to avoid.

For those who have been lucky enough to evade them, a muscle cramp is a sudden, involuntary, painful contraction of a muscle. These symptoms generally ease off within seconds to minutes but are often accompanied by a palpable knotting of the muscle. While magnesium does play many important roles in the body, unfortunately the prevention/reduction of exercise-induced muscle cramps is not one of these. It is easy to be confused considering the heavy marketing for magnesium supplements and the prevention of cramps, but to date the scientific research suggests that there is no strong link between exercise-induced muscle cramps and magnesium supplementation.

While oral magnesium does not appear to have any beneficial effects in athletes with adequate magnesium, supplementation may improve performance in individuals with a diagnosed deficiency. Those undertaking a high volume chronic training load (e.g. long distance runners) or those with a restricted energy intake may be at risk of magnesium deficiency, although this is not common and you should always get this checked out with your GP before supplementation. It is worthwhile noting that the intestinal absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much magnesium the body needs. If there is too much magnesium, the body will only absorb as much as it needs. So how much do I need? I hear you ask. The recommendations suggest that adults consume a range between 350 and 400 mg/day as the upper limit. Most individuals who are eating a healthy well balanced diet will be acquiring the required amount of magnesium through wholefoods. Good food sources of magnesium include vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and whole grains. For example, 30g of brazil nuts provides ~100mg, and ½ cup cooked quinoa provides ~50mg of magnesium.

1 litre of SOS Rehydrate provides 20% of the recommended daily intake of Magnesium

Ok, so what does cause cramps and what can I do to avoid them?

What we do know about cramps is that the main risk factors include; family history of cramping, previous occurrence of cramps during or after exercise, increased exercise intensity and duration, and inadequate conditioning for the activity. This explains the classic example of cramping on race day. During a race you’re typically working at a higher intensity than normal, and often over a longer duration than during training.

From a nutrition perspective, glycogen depletion (insufficient carbohydrate) or low energy availability can also contribute to fatigue and therefore cramping. This highlights the importance of getting your nutrition and fuelling plans for long sessions and races spot on.

original source

LetsGetRunning.co.uk Podcast with SOS CEO James Mayo

in BLOGS/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/TRAINING/UK/USA

On this episode Shaun and Jermaine chat Running Hydration with former international athlete and founder of SOS rehydrate, James Mayo.

We discuss hydration myths, tips and tricks and discuss the story behind SOS Rehydrate; how one too many bottles of red wine got James, his wife Blanca, and his brother Tom thinking…

What Our Perspiration Reveals About Us

in BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING/TRIATHLON

We all know that we sweat when we are hot, anxious or embarrassed – it’s less well known that sweat actually carries emotional messages

In 1934, a British physician named BA McSwiney stood before his colleagues at the Royal Society of Medicine and lamented that most folks didn’t concern themselves with the chemical composition of human perspiration. Instead, they focused solely on the mechanisms by which the evaporation of sweat from the skin’s surface allowed the body to cool itself.

But McSwiney knew that there was more to sweating than just evaporative cooling. Under certain conditions “the loss of constituents of blood-plasma by continued sweating may be considerable”. In other words, other stuff leaves the body in our sweat. But what kind of stuff, and is its loss a good thing or bad?

Some substances in our sweat we probably wouldn’t want to lose. Take chlorides. These compounds – chlorine atoms, often attached to sodium ones to form salt – are important for maintaining the body’s internal pH balance, regulating the movement of fluids in and out of cells, and transmitting impulses across nerve fibres. It’s normal for some chlorides to leak out of the body as we sweat, but there are some instances in which a person might lose too many. Imagine working for several hours in a hot place, for example. Most of us would know to drink water to stay hydrated. But sweat too much and drink too much and you might start to show symptoms of water poisoning. In those circumstances the body just can’t replace the chloride lost in sweat fast enough.

(Credit: Getty Images)
Your sweat contain tiny trace amounts of metals such as zinc and magnesium (Credit: Getty Images)

Also mixed in with sweat is urea, the substance for which urine is also named. By at least one estimate, between 0.24 and 1.12 milligrams of the stuff is dissolved in every cubic centimetre of sweat. That might not sound like much, but given that a person sweats some 600 to 700 cubic centimetres worth of liquid each day, sweat is responsible for up to 7% of someone’s daily elimination of urea. (For comparison, that much sweat would just about fill up a can made for pineapple chunks.)

Then there’s ammonia, proteins, sugars, potassium and bicarbonate. Not to mention trace metals like zinc, copper, iron, nickel, cadmium, lead, and even a tiny bit of manganese. For some of those metals, sweat is an important mechanism for excreting them from inside of the body.

Not all of the things that leak out in our sweat are chemical in nature

Sweat exits the body through one of two types of glands. Apocrine glands are found in the armpits and nostrils and on the nipples, ears and parts of the genitalia. Much more common, however, are eccrine glands, millions of which are distributed over most of the rest of the human body – everywhere except the lips and the genitals. When the body and skin get too warm, thermoreceptors send a message indicating as much to the brain. There, the hypothalamus – a small cluster of cells that controls our hunger, thirst, sleep, and body temperature – sends a message to the apocrine and eccrine glands, which begin pumping out sweat.

There is also a third type of sweat gland, first discovered in 1987. It’s only been found in the same places that apocrine glands show up, but because researchers couldn’t classify them as apocrine or eccrine, they became known as apoeccrine glands. Some think that they are eccrine glands that become somehow modified during puberty.

Tool for communication

Not all of the things that leak out in our sweat are chemical in nature. Everybody has, at some point or other, started to sweat because they ate something spicy, and most people are familiar with emotional sweating due to fear, shame, anxiety, or pain. It’s no wonder that it’s the palms, forehead, and foot soles that are so commonly associated with emotional sweating: eccrine sweat glands there are clustered far more densely, up to 700 per square centimetre, than they are on, say, your back, where there are just 64 per square centimetre.

It turns out that emotion-induced sweating is an important tool for communication. In fact, the scents that we detect in sweat can tell us a lot about how others are feeling.

(Credit: Getty Images)
The scent of people in certain emotional states can also influence the feelings of those that smell them (Credit: Getty Images)

In one experiment, a quintet of Utrecht University psychologists collected sweat samples from 10 men as they watched videos designed to evoke feelings of fear (excerpts from The Shining) or disgust (excerpts from MTV’s Jackass). In order to avoid odour contamination, the volunteers agreed to forego smelly foods, alcohol, smoking, and “excessive exercise” for two days prior to their sweat donation session.

Then, 36 women were asked to see whether they could detect any emotional cues hidden in the sweat samples. The researchers found that when women were exposed to fear-derived sweat samples, their own facial expressions suggested fear as well. And when they were exposed to disgust-based sweat samples, their faces mirrored that emotion too. (Sweat collection pads that remained unused served as controls; these didn’t cause the participants to show any predictable sort of facial expression.)

People who sniffed the sweat of scared skydivers became aroused in response to angry faces

That suggested to the researchers that sweat appears to be an effective means of transmitting an emotional state from one person to another. Importantly, the facial expressions the women made while sniffing the sweat were completely independent of their subjective perceptions of the odours’ pleasantness or intensity. So they might show a look of disgust even if they reported a particular sweat sample as smelling pleasant.

Similar patterns have also been seen in other experiments. In 2006, Rice University psychologists discovered that women exposed to sweat samples collected from fearful donors (this time the sweat came from both men and women) performed better on a word association task than women exposed to sweat produced by people watching neutral videos, or by sweat pads that contained no sweat at all. The fear-related cues gave them a heightened awareness of their environment.

(Credit: iStock)
The sweat of first-time skydivers contained powerful chemical clues of their fear (Credit: iStock)

And in 2012, psychologists and psychiatrists from the State University of New York extracted sweat from the t-shirts of 64 donors. Half of the donors jumped out of an aeroplane for the first time, while the other half exercised really hard. People who sniffed the sweat of scared skydivers became aroused in response to angry faces, but also to neutral and ambiguous ones. Psychologists refer to it as vigilance; the freefall-invoked sweat induced participants to pay attention to whatever possible subtle social cues that they might otherwise have overlooked. Those who sniffed the sweat of exhausted exercisers only became more alert when viewing angry faces, as would be expected under any circumstance.

Yet another experiment conducted by German psychologists and neuroscientists found that sweat from anxious men (who participated in a high ropes course) caused women to make riskier decisions – after spending more time deliberating on their choices – in a computer game designed to assess risk-taking behaviours.

Our ancestors took advantage of the olfactory data constantly flowing into their noses

None of these studies indicate whether people are aware that other people’s sweat has altered their own cognition or behaviour, but they do suggest that sweat might, in some cases at least, communicate important information about our internal mental states. They also suggest that we use the information contained in other people’s sweat to better understand our surroundings.

Perhaps that’s not surprising. Our species may be adapted to verbal and linguistic communication, but language is a fairly new item in our social toolkit. It seems reasonable to imagine that our ancestors took advantage of the olfactory data constantly flowing into their noses – and that they passed the skill down to us.

(Credit: Getty Images)
Even the sight of sweat can reinforce the feelings of perceived emotions (Credit: Getty Images)

Indeed, people seem better able to identify emotions in virtual humans on a computer screen when the animated characters visibly perspire. And not only that, but the addition of sweat seems to allow people to perceive the intensity of a displayed emotion. Sweat, in other words, isn’t just a smelly signal, but a visual one too.

Sweat, in the end, is more than just the body’s air conditioning system. It just might be an emotional weather vane as well, a tool used for broadcasting our innermost feelings to our friends and family.

Original Source

WATCH: Hydration For Runners

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RUNNING

About Elizabeth

An NCAA Division 1 distance swimmer and water polo player, Elizabeth transitioned into triathlon after college and is a multiple podium finisher at the Olympic and 70.3 race distance and a USAT National Qualifier at the Olympic distance.

Elizabeth has an undergraduate degree in Humanities from UCSB, an MA Education in Health Sciences and a CA Teaching Credential in Health Sciences and History.  In addition, she is a certified sports nutritionist from the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition).

Fuel For A Faster Marathon

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S

The final 10km of a marathon can be a world of hurt. Make it easier on yourself with a fuelling strategy.

Performance in a marathon is about controlling the controllable. Train hard, recover well and the variables associated with fitness are minimised. Practice pace judgement and the likelihood that you reach your goal begins to increase. Fuel properly and you maximise the chances of avoiding ‘the wall’ or the myriad of other names associated with struggling through the last 10-12km.

Fuelling is a strategy of supplementing the bodies diminishing glycogen stores throughout long distance racing. There are two sides to the coin of fuelling: hydration and carbohydrates. The key is maximising the bodies ability to utilise both, so absorption and availability is king.

The general consensus in the scientific community is that the body generally has enough glycogen ‘on board’ to get you to around 75-90 minutes of hard running. However, by implementing an effective hydration and carbohydrate protocol, gains can be anywhere from 2-15% based on where you’re racing.

When it comes to fuelling for the marathon there is plenty of conflicting information floating around, yet there are a few in the scientific community that (a) specialise in this area (b) are runners themselves and work with elites, and finally (c) can communicate this information clearly and concisely. One of the few to be (d) all of the above, is Trent Stellingwerff.

Stellingwerff provides physiology and nutrition expertise to Canada’s national rowing, track & field and triathlon teams, as well as leading their Innovation and Research division. He is currently one of the leading-brains in the field, and below we have implemented some of his recommendations into a “how to” guide for fuelling with SOS for any race where you’re likely to be on your feet for longer than those 70-90 minutes.

SOS athlete Patrick Rizzo finishing the London Marathon in 12th place. April, 2013. Rizzo has found that without effective fuelling he is unable to get the most out of his fitness and regularly practices taking on fluids in training.

Where does SOS fit? 

SOS is an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and one of the most effective ways to absorb electrolytes outside of an IV Drip, which would be difficult to utilise while racing…

What about the Carbohydrate? 

For the purpose of this analysis we will look at the personal favourite of some of the SOS marathoners: gels. Gels are widely available and are easy to carry on the run or dissolve in water. They’re also available at most major marathons and trail races.

Getting Started 

Although there are some useful ‘general guidelines’, we all have different needs, so it’s always a good idea to complete a bit of an amateur sweat test during training. It is as simple as it sounds: track your weight pre and post run. The metric system makes this a lot easier as 1L of sweat is equal to 1 Kg of body weight. Ideally you will end up somewhere between the 2-5% range. That will give you an idea of how much fluid you will need to get down to keep the tank running. Try it across varying types of weather and distances to get a bit of an idea of how your body is working to keep itself cool.

Laura Thweatt successfully implemented her favourite Mango SOS as a key part of her fuelling for the NYC Marathon in 2015 where she was 1st American.

What type of fuel? 

Gels compliment hydration via SOS pretty well. However, not all gels are created equal, and neither are all sugars. Stellingwerff recommends a blend of glucose and fructose, with studies indicating that this allows between 20-40% greater absorption and delivery of carbohydrate over glucose alone. This is because there are separate transporters for glucose and fructose in the intestine, meaning that a glucose/fructose blend of around 2:1 results in increased uptake of carbohydrate and more delivery to the muscles.

Various brands of gels offer a wide range of consistency and viscosity that is all a matter of personal preference. What is important is the glucose/fructose ratio. Look for maltodextrin (which is glucose as well) or sucrose and fructose as the first two ingredients.

The Rule of 15 

The ‘Rule of 15’ is basically consuming something close to 15 grams of carbohydrate every 15 minutes and 150 mL of fluid. Don’t overthink the exact numbers, the key is being there or there about over the course of an hour (ish), which is around 60g per hour of carb’s and 600 mL of fluids.

In order to limit GI distress and maximise absorption while also working to the guidelines above, we have found that it’s a good idea to separate your fuel and hydration. Rather using a generic sports drink that is trying to be both, alternate SOS and a gel at each available station. This way you can let your body focus on one thing at a time while still getting your fuel requirements.

Separating hydration also allows for a greater ability to modify consumption based on weather without sacrificing glycogen intake. If it’s hot, you can drink more and vice versa. Hydration needs can vary; glycogen requirements do not.

Take your time with your fluids; you don’t need to get your whole bottle down in 30 seconds. It’s not uncommon to see those at the top end of the field sipping over the course of a kilometre. It’s easier on the system and settles with less distress.

Practice makes perfect 

Running is fast can be hard, and drinking while running fast is even harder. With that in mind it’s important to practice your fluids in training as much as is feasibly possible. Set up a foldout table or put bottles on the hood of your car. If you’re carrying bottles, practice long runs and workouts with your fuel belt or bottle in hand. If you are leaving hydration purely up to what the race provides, try and get as efficient as you can with drinking out of paper cups.

Don’t let all the training you have done fall apart because of an inadequate fuelling strategy. You can be as fit as you have ever been, but if the pump from the engine to the tank isn’t working optimally you will almost certainly run below your ability.

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