Time to Get Me Some Tail(wind)
I, like many runners, tend to have a sensitive stomach when taking nutrition during and immediately after a run. This even goes as far as me having to avoid unfiltered water for fear that it could cause some GI distress. When I first started doing long runs that actually can be qualified as long runs (12 miles and up), I tried to have someone meet me about halfway with a bottle of lemon-lime (my favorite flavor) Gatorade, thinking that the sugar, electrolytes, and fluid would be good to get me through the run. Inevitably and without fail, I’d cramp up and spend the rest of the miles alternating between doubling over in pain and crying like a baby. Finally, I decided to start looking for something to replace the grocery store sports drinks. Through the suggestion of Coach Caleb Masland, I decided to take a chance on Tailwind Nutrition.
Tailwind is a company based out of Colorado, founded by an ultrarunner who had experienced digestion issues taking gels and other products while running the Leadville 100. Tailwind Endurance Fuel is a powder drink that mixes clear, regardless of the flavor. (Organic) Flavors include Mandarin Orange, Lemon, Berry, and Naked Unflavored. As mentioned above, lemon flavor always seems to feel the most refreshing to me, so I settled on ordering the Lemon flavored 50 serving bag. Not only is the product affordable ($34.99 for the 3 lb. bag), but it also arrived to my door in only 2 days.
As you can see from the picture, some extra goodies were thrown into the box, along with a personalized note from one of the Tailwind employees. In fact, they even took the time to wish me luck on my race the following day (an event they could only have known about from reading my Twitter). Their service blew me away and had me wanting to continue using the product before I even had a chance to try it.
Tailwind Endurance Fuel is one that can customized to your own tastes and needs. For example, if you are going for an hour run and just need some calories to get you going, you can mix up one scoop for about 100 calories of high quality, dextrose fuel. For longer runs or races, you can add more scoops and make your drink stronger. The flavor is not overpowering and it goes down surprisingly smooth for a drink that provides a relatively high number of calories. The main issue that I have with this fuel is that it requires me to carry on my run, or engineer a series of loops that allows me to grab and go during a workout. I don’t really like to hold anything in my hands while running as I feel that it throws off my form when working hard. I once tried to leave the bottle at a water stop during an MGP (Marathon Goal Pace) tempo run, leaving me only a couple seconds each time by to take a sip. This didn’t allow me to take in enough of the liquid calories while on the run and I ended up bonking 20 miles in. I now will typically take Tailwind Endurance Fuel with 300 calories before a long workout or race. This gets me to the start fueled and ready to go, but I may still need to pop a gel or two during my January marathon. I can imagine that Tailwind would be much easier to consume for someone in an ultramarathon or trail race where carrying is much more commonplace.
Great company with great service
Terrific flavor without being overpowering
Easy on the stomach
Customizable for the intended level of activity
Allows you to take nutrition without having to hydrate separately (as with a gel)
Requires more space than a gel
Not available in most specialty stores
I highly recommend Tailwind Endurance Fuel for anyone who needs a fuel and hates taking gels. I love the company almost as much as the fuel itself, and look forward to working with them in the future. Nutrition is an area of training and racing that deserves a lot of attention, and I believe that Tailwind will work very well for many individuals. Tailwind can be purchased from their website.
Tailwind logo downloaded from Tailwindnutrition.com