Note#1: At Western States runners are expected to drink 8 gallons of fluids during the race, or a 20 ounce bottle every two miles!
Note#2: Runners need 400 to 800 milligrams of sodium per hour during warm and hot weather conditions. The average pretzel or saltine has only 30 milligrams of sodium. (from James Raia & Karl King)
Pete reported on his running partner throwing away some drink that wasn't working well. I spent most of last year on a quest for the sports drink that would work well for my own needs...
My starting point was XLR8 which is made locally and is the official drink at some ultras I've run. It worked fine in my stomach, but I found the syrup dispenser to clog up with drying crust and the syrup itself turning to molasses in the winter. Too much hassle!
Next was Cytomax which was available at retail within a mile of my home. Also kept my stomach happy but the taste was too fruity and then I read on these mailing lists that sodium should exceed potassium, for which Cytomax is incorrect. I corrected both problems by adding a little salt and stretching the powder 50/50 with bulk maltodextrin (tasteless starch, available at beer-home brewing shops). This drink worked great except for the inconvenience of customizing.
Somewhere in there, I planned an ultra at which Gatorade would be the official drink so I got a canister of powder to try in training. I really hated the taste, even after mellowing it with 50/50 maltodextrin. I ran the particular ultra with my own aid table using my Cyto/malto blend, and flushed the last of the Gatorade. Tried a few packets of Exceed, also found the taste too strong even with malto blending. At least I managed to be environmentally correct and use up the last of it!
Finally, list member Karl King saw one of my postings about my Cyto/malto blend and suggested that his Succeed! drinks would achieve my mild-taste preference without the labor of blending my own stuff. So this posting ends up being an unsolicited testimonial for Karl's stuff. I've used both the Ultra and Amino variants. Last year's FANS 24hr had a horrible heatwave and a *lot* of runners got sick, but I was one of those who could keep their stomachs in place.
List member Kevin Setnes is an alternate purchasing source for the Ultra variant. Kevin advertises in UR magazine thru the UltraFit company name. Next time I need to order from either of them, I'll probably try out their new electrolyte tablets, as I've been getting my supplemental sodium with plain salt powder (yuck!).
By the way, although I want my drink to have mild taste, I also want some variety, and it turns out that Karl is willing to blend in about eight different flavors.
Subject: Exceed Replacement?
Nancy Rohde wrote:
I understand that the manufacturer that made Exceed sold out and the product was dropped from the line. Since that was my fluid of choice, I am interested in knowing if anyone found a product close to Exceed. It has to be a powder that we can carry in a pack, and mix at an aid station.I too used to use Exceed. It was the first sports drink I learned about back in about 1986, when it was served at the Old Dominion 100. As I recall, they distributed some good scientific-style articles on research about the gastric emptying rate of simple-sugared versus polymeric-glucose drinks such as Exceed. (The polycose led to faster fluid absorption.)
I switched to UltraFuel (a powder made by Twin Labs) a few years ago as my carbo drink of choice for several reasons. UltraFuel was easier for me to get in my grocery store and at a nearby discount health food store. It was cheaper than Exceed on a per-Calorie basis. I also gradually realized that Exceed did not have adequate sodium for sweat replacement, and that it had too much potassium relative to sodium. And I like the flavors of UltraFuel better than Exceed.
NOTE: UltraFuel has NO SODIUM. So I figured out how much salt to add to it to make it an adequate sweat-replacement drink - about 1/4 teaspoon salt per 28-ounce (0.83 liter) bottle of fluid. I'm also now experimenting with Karl King's buffered salt capsules as the source of salt, and having good success with that so far. (According to Costill, the sodium (as Na) in sweat of heat-acclimated runners is about 920 mg per liter. 1/4 teaspoon of Morton table salt has 590 mg Na.)
From what I have read about it, I think that Karl King's SUCCEED! might be one of the better endurance drinks on the market, but I cannot buy it locally so I go with UltraFuel and salt. Another drink that appears to be well-formulated for endurance sports is Conquest, which was concocted by an M.D. who is an ultrarunner. I don't like the taste of it however - it has Nutrasweet in it.
An old idea that I read about perhaps 20 years ago is to put a dash of salt in diluted orange juice. However, I think that would give you mostly or all simple sugars. Some people have reported using maltodextrin powder (reportedly available in home-brewing supply stores) as a source of polymeric glucose for a home-made endurance drink.
I'm sure others can report on other brands which they have tried. Good luck finding something you like and which is relatively readily available.