2

votes

Alternative to sugar/soda as a "pick me up" for 100 mile ultra-marathon?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 01, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Hey guys, i'm looking for a food item that would serve as a great "pick me up" for my upcoming 100 mile run. Its very common/popular for runners to take a drink of coke/sprite/ginger ale to get them 'poppin' again. Now at my last 50 miler, i gave in a few times and tried drinking the ginger ale, and i felt great for about 5 minutes, and then my energy crashed so bad, i wanted to step aside on the trail and take a nap. I make my own paleo almond butter bars and few other paleo snack and eat those, as well as bananas and oranges, and only drink coconut water. Is there any food item that i could be using to give me the same effect coke/soda does other runners, without getting the sugar crash, due to my paleo diet?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 07, 2014
at 05:21 PM

Even the most keto adapted folks use glucose sitting an event. Ketosis is not for elite athletes.

48b86f0a10101d13a23ea46e72d8e755

on June 07, 2014
at 09:47 AM

This is exactly why three guys made AMARA - a paleo energy-, sports- and recovery drink.

We sell in Europe: www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe / www.facebook.com/AMARA.europe

But in US you can buy it on Amazon.

2965fdc9b18493242a114c8b1daa436b

(48)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Honestly you seem to have things pretty much sorted. Coconut water is great, but does have carbs, there are zero carb electrolyte replacement drinks such as the one from "High5". My suggestion is try crunching some coffee beans before drinking. There was a time people warned against caffeine but its been given the all clear again, just don't over do it.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on August 02, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Orange slices are great too. Good luck to you!

20172354416166004d612e7d6bdd2f5e

(352)

on August 02, 2011
at 12:05 AM

I used Gleukos (http://www.gleukos.com/) in my Ironman last year; it's a drink containing solely glucose. I did long training sessions on coconut oil, but got extremely nauseated many times. Honestly though, the combo of caffeine and sugar in coke or mountain dew is hard to beat in the middle of super long races like that.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Thanks Dylan, i have tried hammer previously as well. as i mentioned in other replies, my body has been so used to strict paleo diet, that when anything that isnt full paleo enters my body, my body reacts in a negative way

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:50 PM

Chris, the Vita Coco brand is what i stock myself up with for my runs, it works great. Brian, Zico is GREAT as well

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:48 PM

Thanks Bobby - i do use salt tablets to make up for the straight coconut water intake. I like your idea about adding the seltzer water, seems simple, and i will try that...i think that should be the answer. Thanks for all the suggestions, i know nutrition is always the trickiest part of the run, i've been strict paleo for 3 months now, and anytime i eat something i shouldnt, my body reacts like its mad at me....my main fuel will be almond butter bars, which work great, so far!

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 01, 2011
at 11:46 PM

@Todd - I eat Paleo for health and longevity, not performance. The fact that you have run and continue to run these ultra endurance races means you seem mostly/exclusively interested in performance. I have no words of wisdom other than to sincerely wish you luck in spite of your lack of concern regarding the damage you are doing to your body.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:44 PM

the Aid stations have this, i eat this when its there, as well as oranges/bananas!

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:43 PM

Thanks! I have tried nuun, and unfortunately they get way to fizzy/foamy when being shook up(from bouncing up and down while running)

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:42 PM

i've ran plenty of 100 mile ultra's before, but this is my first being on strict paleo diet, i've done a few 50's, and as i mentioned, when i intake sugar, my energy crashes enough that i'm tired enough to fall asleep. I'm not worried about any damage to my body

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 01, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I think we might be brothers from another mother. My answer was going to involve going to a whorehouse without a condom and worrying about...I will leave the rest to your imagination. Just a more crass version of your post

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:55 PM

I can see where miked is coming from here... Perhaps you can try both and see which one supports your running better. Did you want to carry anything or is it better for you to leave what you need at aid stations. I suggested coconut pil as it is very dense for the quick calories it carries.

55c3c2a048c4eadbf6829d1bcecfee1f

(75)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Forgot to add, if you're drinking only coconut water, you likely will need additional sodium over the course of the race. We sweat out a concentration around 3:1 sodium:potassium, whereas coconut water is mostly potassium. I take S-Caps to balance out my salt levels on long runs, but the salted potatoes you can usually find at aid stations would likely do the trick, too. Nuun, as previously suggested, could also work while meeting your desire for a fizzy-drink. There is an orange-ginger flavor that may remind you a tad of ginger ale.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:11 PM

If you have aid stations where you can keep stuff, I suggest coconut butter instead of coconut oil. It has the same MCTs and produces the same energy as the oil, but tends to upset my stomach less. I always have a tablespoon or so before a workout and it works really well. I could see it also working well at an aid station.

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:36 PM

I second this, it'd be similar to the digest-ability of a gel on a long run.

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:34 PM

so it has 15x the amount of sodium? I just make a salt+lemon juice water when i go out in high heat/long runs. But the question is in regards to a high calorie supplement.

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:33 PM

http://Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but http://TasteNirvana.com tastes straight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:32 PM

www.Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but www.TasteNirvana.com tastes straight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:31 PM

Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but TasteNirvana.com tastes staight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Oh and Hammer Gel is pretty low in sugar, only 3 grams of sugar per packet (which would make it lower in sugar than most coconut water I know of).

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Also, I used to cycle long distances and really loved Hammer Gel and didn't really have the greatest luck with the products you mentioned. It's in the same realm so it's entirely possible that it wouldn't work for you, but I swear by the stuff compared to other products in the same category.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:20 PM

Most grocery stores here in Alaska sell it in the natural foods areas of their stores (being the area with gluten free, lots of organic foods, etc.). Not sure where you live but products tend to be easier to find places other than Alaska.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Thanks Dylan, any idea where i can find this(stevia sweetend soda) the carbonation also feels good in the stomach, which is why i kept trying the ginger ale. i still have time to test it out during the week, my run isnt until Saturday. I have tested Gatorade and GU electrolytes and even Cliff-Shot, and they all make me feel like crap after drinking them, so thats why i stick strictly to only coconut water

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 05:05 PM

would coconut oil work? it definitely will not be warm enough, as it is in the marin headlands/bay area, Ca, it gets in the low 40's, foggy/wet. But i could keep a jar at the aid stations and eat a spoonful? Thank you for your response

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11 Answers

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 01, 2011
at 11:01 PM

Let's see: you're doing a 100 mile marathon, yet worried about a little sugar. That's like jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and becoming worried that you forgot to take your asthma medicine. Which do you think is going to do damage to your body? I guarantee the former.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 01, 2011
at 11:46 PM

@Todd - I eat Paleo for health and longevity, not performance. The fact that you have run and continue to run these ultra endurance races means you seem mostly/exclusively interested in performance. I have no words of wisdom other than to sincerely wish you luck in spite of your lack of concern regarding the damage you are doing to your body.

D1c02d4fc5125a670cf419dbb3e18ba7

on August 01, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I think we might be brothers from another mother. My answer was going to involve going to a whorehouse without a condom and worrying about...I will leave the rest to your imagination. Just a more crass version of your post

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:42 PM

i've ran plenty of 100 mile ultra's before, but this is my first being on strict paleo diet, i've done a few 50's, and as i mentioned, when i intake sugar, my energy crashes enough that i'm tired enough to fall asleep. I'm not worried about any damage to my body

2
55c3c2a048c4eadbf6829d1bcecfee1f

(75)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:30 PM

100-mile nutrition is always tricky to peg. For me, I am fine with some non-HFCS ginger ale in aid stations (only in racing, never in training), but it appears you aren't so lucky.

One paleo concoction I've had luck with for fuel is a mixture of sweet potato puree and apple sauce, stored in a gel flask or small water bottle. The consistency is easy to take down when the stomach is revolting (likely in a 100) and it gives a mix of slow and fast digesting carb. Although not totally paleo, you could also try adding in a little bit of protein powder to the mix. For fat, I can't imagine drinking coconut oil in a 100, especially in hot weather, but a bag of coconut flakes might make for a fun thing to snack on during the slower sections. Bacon is another good one for fat, protein and salt... and no matter how bad your stomach is feeling, bacon is always palatable.

If you're truly looking for a drink that seems like soda while remaining technically paleo, you could mix some fruit juice and/or coconut water in with some seltzer (for the bubbles). I haven't tried this, but it sounds like it may work.

Best of luck, and remember that ultrarunning isn't totally paleo, so some less-than-paleo concessions may need to be made to get to that finish line. Just keep that perpetual forward motion...

55c3c2a048c4eadbf6829d1bcecfee1f

(75)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Forgot to add, if you're drinking only coconut water, you likely will need additional sodium over the course of the race. We sweat out a concentration around 3:1 sodium:potassium, whereas coconut water is mostly potassium. I take S-Caps to balance out my salt levels on long runs, but the salted potatoes you can usually find at aid stations would likely do the trick, too. Nuun, as previously suggested, could also work while meeting your desire for a fizzy-drink. There is an orange-ginger flavor that may remind you a tad of ginger ale.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:48 PM

Thanks Bobby - i do use salt tablets to make up for the straight coconut water intake. I like your idea about adding the seltzer water, seems simple, and i will try that...i think that should be the answer. Thanks for all the suggestions, i know nutrition is always the trickiest part of the run, i've been strict paleo for 3 months now, and anytime i eat something i shouldnt, my body reacts like its mad at me....my main fuel will be almond butter bars, which work great, so far!

1
12ffb8c5c4847485b51b8dcd443bba66

on August 01, 2011
at 05:14 PM

I drink coconut water after my CrossFit workouts. It has about 15 times the electrolytes of Gatorade and the potassium of more than 2 bananas. I drink the Vita Coco brand.

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:33 PM

http://Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but http://TasteNirvana.com tastes straight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:34 PM

so it has 15x the amount of sodium? I just make a salt+lemon juice water when i go out in high heat/long runs. But the question is in regards to a high calorie supplement.

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:31 PM

Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but TasteNirvana.com tastes staight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

Efc27460255d03e72392883ca8a7b0d2

(134)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:32 PM

www.Zico.com is pretty good with a bunch of flavors but www.TasteNirvana.com tastes straight up like tapioca rice pudding to me ;)

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:50 PM

Chris, the Vita Coco brand is what i stock myself up with for my runs, it works great. Brian, Zico is GREAT as well

1
22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Probably not a good time to test it and therefore not good advice but as I recall Dr. Robert Lustig saying, Gatorade is actually good for athletes. Sugar is only bad because it tends to be in too high of a concentration and tends to not be followed up by adequate energy expenditure.

You could also consider a stevia sweetened soda (stevia is generally approved and since you seem to be particularly avoiding sugar, it might be a feasible option).

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:20 PM

Most grocery stores here in Alaska sell it in the natural foods areas of their stores (being the area with gluten free, lots of organic foods, etc.). Not sure where you live but products tend to be easier to find places other than Alaska.

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Also, I used to cycle long distances and really loved Hammer Gel and didn't really have the greatest luck with the products you mentioned. It's in the same realm so it's entirely possible that it wouldn't work for you, but I swear by the stuff compared to other products in the same category.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 05:13 PM

Thanks Dylan, any idea where i can find this(stevia sweetend soda) the carbonation also feels good in the stomach, which is why i kept trying the ginger ale. i still have time to test it out during the week, my run isnt until Saturday. I have tested Gatorade and GU electrolytes and even Cliff-Shot, and they all make me feel like crap after drinking them, so thats why i stick strictly to only coconut water

22424c9eef944ade83d4e4ffda907056

(1402)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Oh and Hammer Gel is pretty low in sugar, only 3 grams of sugar per packet (which would make it lower in sugar than most coconut water I know of).

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:52 PM

Thanks Dylan, i have tried hammer previously as well. as i mentioned in other replies, my body has been so used to strict paleo diet, that when anything that isnt full paleo enters my body, my body reacts in a negative way

1
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on August 01, 2011
at 05:00 PM

Have you thought about bringing along a bottle of coconut oil in a sports bottle? If it is warm enough out, it should remain liquid enough to sip as you go.

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:36 PM

I second this, it'd be similar to the digest-ability of a gel on a long run.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:11 PM

If you have aid stations where you can keep stuff, I suggest coconut butter instead of coconut oil. It has the same MCTs and produces the same energy as the oil, but tends to upset my stomach less. I always have a tablespoon or so before a workout and it works really well. I could see it also working well at an aid station.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

(10778)

on August 01, 2011
at 06:55 PM

I can see where miked is coming from here... Perhaps you can try both and see which one supports your running better. Did you want to carry anything or is it better for you to leave what you need at aid stations. I suggested coconut pil as it is very dense for the quick calories it carries.

20172354416166004d612e7d6bdd2f5e

(352)

on August 02, 2011
at 12:05 AM

I used Gleukos (http://www.gleukos.com/) in my Ironman last year; it's a drink containing solely glucose. I did long training sessions on coconut oil, but got extremely nauseated many times. Honestly though, the combo of caffeine and sugar in coke or mountain dew is hard to beat in the middle of super long races like that.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 05:05 PM

would coconut oil work? it definitely will not be warm enough, as it is in the marin headlands/bay area, Ca, it gets in the low 40's, foggy/wet. But i could keep a jar at the aid stations and eat a spoonful? Thank you for your response

0
Medium avatar

on June 07, 2014
at 03:42 PM

So far, nobody's mentioned keto-adaptation, so I will. :) I suppose the coconut milk would be the best choice there for a paleo liquid. But I'd probably alternate with an electrolyte drink like Vegn or Emergen-C as well.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on June 07, 2014
at 05:21 PM

Even the most keto adapted folks use glucose sitting an event. Ketosis is not for elite athletes.

0
Af9537cfa50562b67979624e9007e12a

(1334)

on August 02, 2011
at 06:32 PM

5 hour energy drink........

0
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 01, 2011
at 11:28 PM

Good home made kombucha :)

0
95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on August 01, 2011
at 06:21 PM

This summer, I've discovered the joy of eating cold slices of fresh pineapple after a run. I'm by no means an ultra-marathoner, not even close, but after 5K in 90 degree eat, the pineapple goes down so well. (You would need someone on support for you, though, to keep it cold, I assume.) I find that it gives me an energy boost for the next leg of my workout, which is body weight exercises.

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:44 PM

the Aid stations have this, i eat this when its there, as well as oranges/bananas!

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on August 02, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Orange slices are great too. Good luck to you!

0
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on August 01, 2011
at 05:53 PM

You could try Zip Fizz. My cyclist friend swears by it. The ingredients aren't 100% paleo but pretty close. They come in powder form in little vials that you mix with water yourself.

http://www.zipfizz.com/

0
Fe535c4994ac6176f76e1ff6d29eb08a

on August 01, 2011
at 05:36 PM

Check out nunn tablets. I have been using them while cycling and they sems to work really well. The nice part is that I just feel that I can keep going, instead of the burst/crash I woudl get with Gatorade or other sugary sports drinks. All the good stuff Gatorade has (electrolytes) without all the sugar. Tastes good too!

954677d5c79932d754d97048191b08c0

on August 01, 2011
at 11:43 PM

Thanks! I have tried nuun, and unfortunately they get way to fizzy/foamy when being shook up(from bouncing up and down while running)

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