A few things to talk about…

Impending marathon aside (THIS Sunday, Chester Marathon in case I haven’t said it enough times…), I’ve been feeling rather positive and upbeat lately. OK in general I’m a positive and upbeat person anyway so this really isn’t that much of a change.

I’m a very much “glass half full” kinda girl. This can definitely work against me at times though when I think things like, “Oh I’m sure I’ll find my way back from my run in this unknown-to-me place, I don’t need to check my route/map” or “I have loads of time before I need to leave for this important appointment…”. But in general I think being optimistic is far better than pessimistic. Just my two pence (pence? Cents? Don’t know but I’m British so “pence” it is!).

After that random tangent… let’s crack on with some stuff on my mind.

New trainers: What is better, right? Actually they’re not that new anymore really but I haven’t mentioned them on the blog I don’t think. As part of the Run Reigate blogging experience (check out my race recap; it’s a great event!), I was gifted Brooks trainers to help me train – the dream scenario right? Thankfully I got to choose which trainers as I’m quite sensitive and injury-prone. I went for the Brook Adrenaline GTS trainers, which I’ve had previously but have since retired due to too high mileage.img_4897

I love the colour of these – minty gorgeousness! These trainers are ideal for me as I need support for my rubbish flat feet to stop me over-pronating. I know people argue that pronation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am very flat footed that I do need support. O’m continually working on strengthening my arches… though it is ongoing and painfully slow (though I’ve made a lot of improvements, hurrah).

Anyway, the trainers are very springy and supportive and I love them. I wear them alongside my Mizunos Wave Paradoxes. I’ve yet to decide which to wear for the marathon though…decisions decisions.

elete Holistic Hydrate electrolytes: I read about this initially from Lauren’s blog and was intrigued. The company reached out to me after I commented on the blog post so I happily got to try it out myself (for free, in exchange for a review).img_5435elete Holistic Hydrate is a zero calorie and zero artificial nasties product that is used to add to water in order to hydrate effectively. It contains a balance of magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride, which are all key electrolytes, as well as over 60 other naturally occurring trace and ultra trace elements.img_5434Why are electrolytes important? Well in fairly basic terms, electrolytes help keep the body functioning as muscles use electrical impulses to do certain things and so we require a number of minerals in electrolyte form (ionical charged minerals) to help this happen. The electrolytes help keep the fluid and pH balance in your body. I’m not a scientist (obviously) so that’s about as far as I’ll go with this, but the website has lots more information. Basically electrolytes can help maintain hydration, prevent muscle cramps, sustain energy and endurance and enhance mental focus.

I’m a big fan of using electrolytes during and after running. I really like this product for many reasons. One because it has the decent line up of electrolytes and two because it’s practically tasteless. I say practically only because if you don’t dilute it with enough water it can taste slightly salty. However this is easily eliminated by increasing the amount of water you use (2.5ml teaspoon of elete to one litre of water is ideal, I can barely taste a difference). You can also add this to food!! It’s such a small dinky bottle as well that i can take it with me to races or in my handbag. Very very handy. Just a few drops and boom, your water is upgraded. Love it.

Getting the itch to speed train: This whole marathon cycle I really haven’t done any proper speed workouts. I’ve done some very informal fartleks and speedier parkruns, but in general I’ve just ran however I fancied. Now this has been fantastic and also sensible due to my hamstring niggle/issue that I was still feeling the effects of months after Boston. It didn’t hinder my running or cause me pain but it was definitely an echo and made me think twice before pushing things. (Incidentally, my hamstring is 100% fine now thankfully! *Touch wood*)

My times therefore haven’t increased dramatically. I’m minutes away from PBs in most distances. But I’m OK with that because I’ve enjoyed injury-free running and I’m not PB hunting anyway and, finger’s crossed, I’ll get to this marathon unscathed and hopefully finish similarly.

The half marathon the other day did get me itching for the buzz of a speedier run though. I decided to head out the other evening and do some intervals on my own. I did a mile warm-up which gave me a chance to see how my legs were feeling and whether mentally I was up for pushing things. I was, so decided to do three fairly fast (for me at the moment) 1km loops, with 1km slower loops in between.1k-intervals

My speeds aren’t exactly crazy fast (for me) but it’s encouraging. After this marathon I’m going to be trying my hardest to put more effort into doing speed workouts. So going to the track workout sessions with my club and doing hill sessions. It’s not with a view to smash out PBs but rather to change things up as I feel like my running has become a bit stagnant and my paces all blur into one. It’s nice sometimes to feel that “omg I’m going to die” burst of speed and the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a session.

But, like I said, after the marathon and that very much assumes I’ll survive it uninjured! And we all know, that’s not a given for me!

Do you do speed workouts regularly?

What are your favourite speed workout sessions? I love a good hills session.

How do you stay hydrated?

The Nitty Gritties – Gear

I thought I’d do another marathon training post, this time focused on gear you might need whether in training or for the actual race.

To catch up on previous posts in this series you can find them here:

Also if you want to request a topic, let me know!

Loads of non-runners I speak to (yes, I do socialise with them occasionally Winking smile ) just think that all you need for running are trainers. And any old trainers at that. Runners, however, are wryly well aware that you need a lot more than that. And “just” trainers can cost quite a chunk of money anyway. But what do you really need for running a marathon? Is it any different to just normal running or running something like a 10k?

Hydration

Well, it really depends firstly on which marathon you’re doing. If it’s a big marathon, like London, Manchester or Berlin for example (to name but a few), then water and carbohydrate water (like PowerAde or Lucozade) are going to be readily available. In the Paris marathon there was water and PowerAde every 5km. At London I think it’s every mile. You really don’t need to carry water with you – unless you want to.

Bare in mind it can be stressful and difficult to get to the water stations in busy marathons. If you’re concerned that you will need water regularly and don’t want to keep making a dive into the water area (it can be a crazy area where people randomly slow down, stop or change direction without warning) then carrying your own might be a good idea. Personally I don’t tend to drink a lot during races unless it’s very warm so for Boston I won’t carry anything as I know I can grab some if I need it and risk the mayhem.

Hydration preparation

For my trail marathon last year at Cheddar Gorge it was a really small race (less than 100 people) and there were only three aid stations if I remember rightly. It took place in mid-August so I knew I’d need to carry water with me. I used my iFitness Hydration Belt and at the aid stations and made sure I topped up the bottles as well.

Fuel

Similar to hydration, some marathons will offer gels or food at the aid stations. Check where the fuel will be, what it will be and how many of them will be available during the race. If you want to use gels and your marathon is offering them, test out those gels in training. Never try them for the first time during the race – they might not agree with your stomach. The Cheddar Gorge marathon offered sweets, biscuits and fruit – but I’d never trained with that sort of thing so I took my own fuel with me.

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My stomach’s generally quite good with gels so I don’t really have an issue with different ones, though I know I prefer it if they have caffeine in them. For me, I tend to have a breakfast of porridge, a black coffee and then three gels (at least one of those being a caffeine one) during the race. But you don’t have to use gels. You could try things like chopped up cereal bars, dried fruit, salted cooked potato chunks (an ultra marathon favourite apparently), jam, and even baby food (like fruit purees). Basically what you ideally want is an easy source of carbs so your body can use it quickly. Just make sure you trial it during one of your long runs.

But you don’t have to use any sort of fuel during the marathon if you don’t want to. If you know you can last an entire marathon without fuel then there’s nothing to say that you have to have anything! Some people can last on a good meal the night before and a good carb-based breakfast on the day of the race. Though if you’re new to marathon training I’d probably advise against this.

Running belts/bags

If you do decide to take fuel or hydration with you you need to find a way to carry it with you. I actually don’t mind holding gels in my hand and I’ve also been quite lucky to have had my dad at three of my marathons handing me gels (he told me where he’d be at what mile). Obviously at a very busy marathon like London this would be nearly impossible.

IMG_5023I love this photo as it literally shows my dad handing me a gel at the Bournemouth marathon

Some people use belts that you can attach gels to or running belts like the Flipbelt. Again, you just need to get used to wearing something like that for a long period of time. Some belts bounce or ride up, or even chafe. Be careful with your selection. I recommend the Flipbelt – minimal riding up issues and no bouncing. It can also hold a phone, gels and keys.

For liquids, you could consider whether you want a full-on rucksack like a Camelbak or a belt like I’ve shown above. Or whether you fancy carrying a bottle for the race (I don’t recommend this, it could give you an imbalance while you run – and 26.2 miles is a long way to hold a bottle for!)

MP3 Players

Does your marathon allow MP3 players? Some smaller marathons could disqualify you for wearing headphones because it’s a safety hazard if the roads haven’t been closed. The worst thing that could happen is you get a DQ at your marathon for something as silly as wearing headphones, so do check! If your marathon doesn’t allow headphones then make sure you’ve done a lot of training without music or podcasts. If you depend on that sort of stimulus it could be a shock to suddenly have to entertain yourself for several hours.

My current preferred method for a marathon is have nothing for the first 10 miles as the atmosphere is all go-go-go and the crowds cheer you along, then for the next 10 miles I’ll put on a podcast as I find these the hardest miles. The atmosphere has died down a bit and mentally it’s the toughest part for me as I’ve still got so far to go but have run a fair way already. Listening to a podcast helps take my mind off of things.

Then for the final 10k I’ll switch to some high tempo music and go for it. I don’t have it on really loud as I like to have the atmosphere of the crowds and other runners but just loud enough so I can feed off of it. I also make sure that the “Final 10k marathon playlist” is a playlist I never touch any other time. I won’t listen to any of those songs at any other point so to maximise their effectiveness and magic.

Tissues, tablets, plasters

Small but some may say potentially essential items. Tissues are a very handy item for the obvious nasal-related reasons. But also if there are portable loos on the course they may not always be adequately stocked with loo roll…

Ibuprofen tablets might be handy to have just in case. Worst-case scenario, a niggle crops up. My advice is to evaluate whether it’s going to become something so much worse or something you could potentially run through. I’m not advocating running using painkillers, but we all know that if we’ve trained for a marathon for 12 or more weeks we’re bloody well going to try and finish it. Come what may.

Plasters in case a blister occurs and you really need to sort it out. The likelihood of actually stopping, taking off your sock and trainer to sort it out is probably slim but a plaster weighs next to nothing and for me it’s more to settle my mind than actual use.

And like everything, the most important thing is to try nothing new on race day. Test things out, have a dress rehearsal at a half marathon race or a long training run. And set things out the night before so in the morning you’re not stressed running around the place trying to find what you need.

What gear do you usually take with you during a marathon?

Do you use gels? Which ones and how many?

Do you listen to anything during a marathon or race?

What a difference preparation makes

Hello, here we are at another Monday. I’d like people to stop talking about autumn please, we’re still in summer! But depressingly when my alarm for the gym goes off in the morning at 5am it’s now dark. It’s so much harder to get up…I might have to get my special alarm clock working (the one that lights up gradually to help you ‘naturally’ wake up).

Saturday was a lovely hot sunny morning, not especially great for running but it’s always a bit more jolly. Nobody is stood shivering dreading the start where they have to take off their nine million layers. I’ve recently been sent some lovely ASICS gear from The Running Bug for their #PoundTheRoad campaign with ASICS and Intersport. The trainers they sent are the new Gel-Glorify, which are perfect for long distance running as they have the gel cushioning in the front and back with a springy midsole.

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Along with the trainers I was sent a technical technical T-shirt , shorts and socks all by ASICS. My friend joked at parkrun that it was like I was sponsored by ASICS! I’ll do a full review on the products later on but it was all good quality and the shoes felt lovely and springy, a bit like Adidas Boosts. Not necessarily as light as Boosts but more ideal for long distance running.

I realised when I got to the parkrun (my local one is Netley Abbey) I’d forgotten my Garmin. Whoops! I don’t think I’ve done that in ages. I wasn’t hugely bothered as it’s quite nice to run without a watch once in a while (very freeing) but at the same time, I’m a stats lover. In the end I decided to use the Strava app on my phone to record the run, but hold it with the screen off as I ran.

It was a tough hot run but I managed to maintain consistent 7min/miles without looking at my time. Normally I do spectacular negative splits at parkrun so I’m quite chuffed. I got 21:27 and second female so not too shabby! It was very hot though. I suppose that’s a good thing as it’s good training for next weekend’s marathon – which doesn’t start until 11am!

The rest of the day was spent seeing my parents and my sister, Rachel. This involved building a Wendy house for my nieces, Meg and Ellie. It was quite amusing as no one in our family, my father especially, is blessed with DIY skills. But it was a success in the end. And obviously I had to see what it was like inside.

Wendy house

My dad snapped a photo and joked that this was my new home. Well, it had a cooker and a fireplace in there (albeit fake ones…) 😉 I’d have loved this as a kid!

Family photo 2015

It was nice to see Rach as we don’t meet up that often (she works different days to me). We’re so different it’s unreal but we always have a laugh when we catch up.

That evening I went out for dinner at a family friend’s house with my parents. My parents were chuffed as it meant they had a designated driver (though I think they somewhat regretted that the next day when they were both feeling slightly fragile).

The host, Sue, asked  me about my running and asked when my next race was. I said it was a marathon next weekend and she asked “how long was that one?”. I laughed because I thought she was joking, but she wasn’t. She genuinely hadn’t a clue. I felt mean having laughed and explained it was 26.2miles. I forget that not everyone is as obsessed and wrapped up in running as me and need to remember not to be quite so quick to judge. There are so many other sports (and things in general) that I haven’t a clue about that other people are passionate about and the marathon really isn’t that mainstream (apart from London perhaps).

Sunday morning I wanted a bit of a lie-in after the late night but woke up at 7.40am. This was probably a good thing as I had planned to run 10-14 miles in Queen Elizabeth Country Park and it was already feeling warm. QECP is very hilly, off-road and beautiful. After some sound advice from my friend, Mark, I decided to run a set time rather than distance because my pace would be all over the place with the hills and there was no point saying I’d run 14 miles if it took me forever (not ideal a week before!).

Hydration preparation

And unlike last weekend’s disastrous run, I wore my hydration belt, a running visor and took water with me in the car. Not going to be dehydrated this time! I also took a little carton of chocolate milk with me to refuel quickly after running. I don’t think my nutritional strategies for refuelling has been that great recently so need to get on top of that if I don’t want to wake up exhausted and drained the next day. Mary always talks about how good chocolate milk is post-run so I decided to give it a go. I find that I never really eat enough the day of a long run as my meals are so pushed back because of my later morning. Chocolate milk would be an easy way to get in those lost calories quickly (and hello, it’s tasty).

I had no real route but new I wanted to start by going up Butser Hill which is a fairly nasty hill.

IMG_0303 This is an old photo but you can see Butser Hill in the distance

Honestly as I got to the actual hill my pace slowed right down. Though I don’t intend on running the hills at Cheddar Gorge, I did want to run the hills here. My intention was to find as many hills as I could to make it a horrifically hard and hilly run so next week’s race won’t be quite such a shock. At the steepest parts my pace was around 14 minute miles. I was barely running faster than people walking up the hill. But I pushed through.

You get to a gate and think you’ve made it but it just keeps going up and up. Eventually I got to the top and continued on. I ran different trail routes randomly and was really enjoying myself. Such a free feeling and beautiful views. I then ran down the other side of the hill which was ridiculously steep. That route headed off further from Butser Hill but I wanted to keep within QECP so when I got to somewhere near the bottom I turned around and went back up. SO hard.

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Because I was running quite slowly (if you can even call it that!) I managed to snap a photo of how steep it was. As hard as it was though I really enjoyed it and every straight section felt like a dream. The miles flew by!

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I was running around with a smile on my face as the views were just incredible. Taking photos while running is tricky business though…

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Not sure what was going on there! ^^

Running selfie

I then headed back down Butser Hill to the other side of QECP to go around the trails there. It was still very undulating and tough going but cooler under some trees and shade.

CaptureI aimed for around two hours worth of running (a nice round number and around the time it would take me to run 14 miles on the flat). I also managed to fill my water bottles up again at the tap near the cafe which was just such a luxury! I plan on doing this at the water stations during the marathon and my dad is planning on giving me some more water at some point as well (bless him).

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I had one mile to go when I got back to the car park and decided to finish by running up Butser Hill again. I didn’t go past the gate this time as that was already half a mile and then ran back down – a great way to finish the run! What was fantastic was I felt I could carry on at the end of the run. It was exactly what I needed in order to boost my confidence for the Cheddar Gorge marathon. I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be unbelievably tough though – who knows if I’ll even complete it, and I’m honestly not just saying that or sand bagging! Nothing is a given in marathons. Especially not hilly, off-road and potentially very hot ones.

Anyway I felt really good for the rest of the day. Tired, obviously, but not drained and no headache in sight. I felt like I had hydrated perfectly and this really reflected in my energy levels for the rest of the day. No nap required! Just got to replicate this next week…

How was your weekend?

What toys do you wish you had when you were younger that are around now?

Do you have any siblings – are they similar to you?

Lesson learnt

Hello summer! What a beautifully sunny weekend. Great for sitting and relaxing, having a BBQ and just chilling. Not so good for a 16.6 mile run – but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Friday night was a work night out at La Tasca. As my dad works at my company and lives near to me I offered to drive him in and take him to the restaurant so he could drink as I’m not a big drinker. In retrospect I wish I had been able to have more than my one sangria because it was such a relaxed and fun evening and everyone was getting rather jolly.

IMG_2717 My good friend, Bhuvana and I

Saying that though, I’m glad I didn’t as I woke up more fresh than I would have done had I been drinking. Though I ate so much food it was unreal. We had tapas ordered for 21 people, but only 15 people made it in the end and the order still stood. Plate after plate just kept coming out: meatballs, potatoes, chicken, paella, calamari, salad, prawns…The problem with tapas (perhaps not a problem I suppose!) is that you really have no idea how much you’re eating as you keep taking little bits of everything. And then the churros for pudding…needless to say I woke up feeling adequately fuelled, albeit a bit tired, for parkrun on Saturday!

After setting up, I warmed up with a few guys from my club and I felt sluggish and de-motivated. I wasn’t sure what to aim for but I didn’t want to just plod round. One of the guys, Rich, said they were aiming for 23-22 minutes so I asked if I could run with him.

Netley Abbey parkrun August

It was nice to run with someone and just switch off and run at a certain pace without trying to go crazy. Towards the final mile Rich started to drop off behind me but he told me to keep maintaining the same pace so he could try and hang on to me rather than me slow down.

In the end I finished 21:42 and he finished 21:54 with a new course PB. He was really chuffed and very grateful. I said likewise, it was nice to have a purpose to my run without feeling I had to smash myself to pieces. It felt very gratifying as well to help someone out 🙂

Urgh then the rest of the day was spent sorting out house stuff. I made a somewhat small start in clearing stuff from under the bed and cupboards and being really quite brutal in the stuff I was binning or giving away to charity. The effort and annoyance of packing is far greater than the want for another pair of high heeled shoes that I rarely wear. I made a good stab at sorting before heading off to my parents to spend the night there.

We watched a film called Four Lions which was hilarious and I highly recommend. If you’re easily offended by black comedy then this wouldn’t be a film for you – IMDB’s synopsis: “Four incompetent British jihadists set out to train for and commit an act of terror”. Very tongue in cheek and satirical.  

Sunday’s long run was planned to be about 16 miles, though the route I was taking was slightly different to normal so I knew it might go over that a bit. I walked Alfie first to loosen my legs and gage the temperature. Already it was feeling warm so I decided to go with a sports bra and shorts combo. I headed out and felt nice and fresh, though straight away I knew it was going to be a hot one.

I’d planned my route to climb a hill at the start as I wanted a bit of variation as the routes around my parents are generally quite flat. There’s also a nice two mile stretch of off-road trail running as well. Basically, anything to help with the impending Cheddar Gorge marathon (I’m almost certain it will be the marathon now). I had planned to go for a run around Queen Elizabeth Country Park for my long run as it’s so hilly and off-road but I just wasn’t sure if I could find 16 miles to run there. Maybe for my final long run this Sunday…not sure. Think I’ve missed the boat.

image See what I mean? I’m trying not to worry too much that my training hasn’t been great in terms of hilly long runs.

Anyway I got to about seven miles and found I was quite thirsty (yes I know, surprise surprise genius). It wasn’t so bad and I thought I’d be fine. I did start imagining different ways of getting water though…stopping in a cafe or finding a tap along the seafront promenade. By mile 11 I knew I needed water soon. I knew I couldn’t last the whole run without any.

It’s funny because the weather was so different to last weekend’s run in the constant rain. I remember having to run through a huge puddle, whereas this week that puddle had dried up [I’m pretty sure if it had been there I’d have done a Cersei from Game of Thrones and got down and drunk the damn thing]. Instead I rang my dad while I was running and asked if he could deliver me some water. Bless him he was more than happy to come to my rescue and asked where I was. My brain was so fuzzy now that I really struggled to tell him where to come meet me. It was a painful process and he had to go step by step as to where I was and where I was going.

Thankfully he found me and Tour de France style handed me a bottle mid-run. I was so grateful! I had to be careful not to guzzle it all at once (you can really make yourself sick if you do this) but to sip it slowly as I went. Eventually I had drunk enough and found carrying the bottle to be annoying so binned it. I was only three miles from home now and was fine to get back.

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(Average 8:05min/miles)

The run was hard work. As I was running towards the end I was trying to work out why it was hard. My lungs and heart felt fine, my breathing relaxed, my legs not niggling or aching…it was just generally an overwhelming sense of tiredness and feeling drained. The dehydration and heat clearly had not helped.

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I felt completely out of it when I got in. I had a pint of water and then just sat in a bit of a daze. I was covered in salt crystals as well, which never normally happens for me!

Though I felt quite sick I knew I needed to eat something soon as I had a friend’s BBQ at 1.30pm that I was going to and didn’t want to turn up ravenous because I hadn’t eaten after the run (with BBQs you can never tell how long the food will be and I didn’t want to be that person moaning about being hungry).

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Another inexpensive dress from H&M

After porridge and a cup of coffee, I showered and got ready. I took my big 750ml bottle of nuun to take with me to the BBQ which I dutifully drank.

The food was delicious (I had kangaroo burgers, a venison and redcurrant burger and a huge turkey skewer…and maybe some chicken skewers as well) but we were sat in the sun and it was just so hot. I put suntan lotion on and tried to stick in the shade.

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I had a tasty slice of coconut and cherry cake and a bit of Eton mess but started to get a horrible headache. I took some tablets and kept drinking. I knew something was up because I didn’t go back for seconds of the cake. I realised that since my run, despite drinking all I’d had, I had only been to the loo twice and it was now 5pm. For me (the girl with a bladder the size of a walnut who goes hourly) this was crazy! The headache just got worse and I realised I needed to go home. I said my goodbyes to my friends and headed back.

I got home and despite my plans of finishing my housework and unpacking my overnight bag, I just had to sit down on the sofa. My head was pounding and I could literally do nothing. In the end I closed my eyes and managed to fall asleep. After 20 minutes I woke up and felt like a new person. The headache was gone and I felt refreshed. I drank another 750ml bottle of nuun while I did my jobs and felt so much better.

This really scared me. I was so stupid to not take anything with me on the run. For Cheddar Gorge I need to be sensible. It could be very warm and sunny and there are only two aid stations (for the marathon you do those aid stations twice, so four in total) and I’m going to be out there for well over four hours, well over four and a half looking at the latest results! I’m definitely going to wear my hydration belt and top it up at the drink stations and my dad should be somewhere at half way(ish) to hand me another bottle too. No mistakes this time. In a way I’m glad this happened as it’s made me plan a bit more sensibly for hydrating during the run.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever learnt something from a tough run/workout?

How do you make sure you stay hydrated?

nuun Review – from my running club

I’m a big fan of nuun hydration tablets and the company in general. I go through a lot of their hydration tablets over the summer and after my long runs in general. You add one tablet to around 500ml of water and let it fizzle and then drink.

It’s become a bit of a habit for me after my long run to fill a big drinks bottle up with water and throw in a hydration tab and then cart that thing round with me for the rest of the day. I’ve even taken it shopping and to friend’s BBQs – my family and friends are used to it. If the weekend is especially hot I’ll have one the day before a long run and then one after.

I love the flavours and I like that the water I’m guzzling (I guzzle a lot) isn’t just washing me out of my necessary electrolytes.

IMG_7601 Citrus Fruit flavour

The guys at nuun graciously supplied me with a number of single samples of two flavours of nuun to give out to my running club (Hedge End Running Club) for them to try and then feed back their thoughts.

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The two flavours were: Strawberry Lemonade and Lemon Lime. The tablets contain no sugar or carbs and have almost zero calories. I cannot stand Lucozade or Powerade or any of the other sugary sports drinks but sometimes it is nice to have some flavour to your water and to get the benefits that some of the sports drink provide, i.e. the electrolytes to keep your body in balance when you sweat, and I find nuun is a great win-win choice.

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So I was happy to give out samples to members of my running club to see what their thoughts were. [On a side note, this was a somewhat logistical nightmare. I put out a message on our club’s Facebook page and was inundated by requests to try them. Then became the nightmare of trying to get these bad boys out to the people who wanted them. I don’t go to every training session and not everyone goes to my usual Netley parkrun so it was quite tricky (not to mention not knowing what people looked like if I’d never met them before!). But anyway, I hope everyone who wanted to try them tried them. Though not everyone gave me a review back…*sighs* ;-)]

Here are a collection of some of the responses people gave after trying the tablets. Brought to you from Hedge End Running Club (though I haven’t used their last names for privacy):

Peter: “Personally I found them a bit ‘bland’ compared to the SiS ones I am used to but then some people might prefer that.
They also say to dilute them in 450ml rather than 500ml which is a bit annoying when most water bottles are 500ml or have a 500ml marker. Means you also cant pop them in a bottle with a sports cap on it from a shop as they are mainly 500ml if that sort of thing bothers you 🙂 50ml probably makes little difference but shows the American heritage rather than European I guess.”

Karen: “I also agree – compared to Zero tabs I would say these were too weak. I prefer a bit more flavour. I don’t think the product is something that you would notice making a huge difference brand to brand, so for that reason I would stick with zero for the better flavour.”

Mark M.: “I’ll fill my pockets, Anna. I found them easy to drink. On 4+ hour cycle rides other brands become a bit sickly to drink, I found these ones much easier on the taste buds.”

Kate: “Like the flavours. Like that they have vitamin C and B2 in them. (However…they could be mistaken for condoms packet in the individual packets!!!!).”

*Snigger*

Terry: “The one’s I had were quite refreshing but the flavours were a bit weak and needed to be a bit stronger.”

Chris: “Have to agree with Terry, the flavours could definitely have been stronger. I mixed each tablet with a pint of water, whether that was the wrong ratio I can’t say. That said it didn’t particularly make me want to drink more fluids as a rehydration aid and from a few tablets it’s difficult to say whether it helps your body absorb more fluid. Will more than likely get some more to try over a longer period 🙂 Verdict: undecided (& probably not well informed enough about the product yet).”

Carlo responded to Chris’ comment above: “Pint of water way too much, Chris. I got a 500ml bottle, took a sip out of it and added the tablet. Tasted ok to me, but I’ve no idea if any of this stuff works at all for me.”…Later informed me after completing a ridiculously hard Dorset Invader Marathon: “I took 2 half litre bottles with me yesterday and just dropped a tablet in when I fancied it. Not sure if it helped in any way, but tasted alright.” (He did an amazing job at the marathon!)

Julie: “I preferred the strawberry lemonade flavour I think. I actually like the more subtle flavours. They seemed to do the job for me but I’m not one of the top end racing types!” Julie has done over 30 marathons so judge for yourself on whether she’s a top end racer 😉

Mark S.: “I’m not sure about them – I’m taking them during day at work to keep hydrated post cycling in. All that seems to happen is I need the toilet about 20 minutes after drinking.
The one’s I had were quite refreshing but the flavours were a bit weak and needed to be a bit stronger.”

Conclusion: I think people enjoyed them and liked the benefits they gave them, but some found the flavours a bit weak. I must admit I do somewhat agree but sometimes I add a bit of squash and I’m happy as Larry. I agree with Mark M. though that you don’t always want an overwhelming flavour when you’re out racing for a long time (especially if it’s warm) as it can be a bit too much, so subtle flavours help with that respect.

And I agree with Kate – hilariously it did look like I was handing out Durexes to my fellow club members 😉 And my dad, when he saw the box of them on my dining table, said awkwardly  “er, what exactly are these, Anna? And why do you have so many?”. But this is the same with other hydration tablet samples too, not just nuun! 😉

Have you tried nuun before?

Do you enjoy sugar-based sports drinks and find they help? I used gels instead to get my carbs and energy during a marathon.

How do you stay hydrated when it’s warm?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent a free box of samples from nuun to give out to my running club in exchange for their opinions and an honest review. I haven’t altered what they said in their reviews (other than one or two typos – I can’t help myself!) All opinions were included, none were left out that I’m aware.**