Monday, February 13, 2017

Tailwind Endurance Fuel Review

**Not a sponsored post - just sharing my experience with this product**

When you run for longer than an hour or so, you need to use something to refuel and rehydrate during your run.  Over the years, I've tried a lot of products, including all kinds of sugar-laden gels, jelly beans, and chews, along with Gatorade and Nuun.  More times than not I end up with the aching stomach that is known in the running world as runner's gut, and it can take me all day to feel better.

However, I need something to keep my energy up, as I have found out the hard way when my legs turn to jelly and I simply run out of oomph during a long run.  Plus I sweat like a fiend and will finish a run with a layer of salt crystals on my face and body.  But Gatorade gives me runner's gut and the new Nuun formula tastes terrible to me, so I was stuck with just water - at least I was hydrating, but I wasn't replacing the electrolytes.
I read about Tailwind in other running blogs - at first I wasn't sure what it even was, because they kept talking about using it as their fuel.  Was it a liquid, or was it a gel?  I finally had enough of the runner's gut and did a little investigating, and discovered that Tailwind is a powder that you mix with water - it has about 100 calories per scoop, and it provides you with a nice little trifecta in the form of hydration, electrolytes, and energy to replace some of what you're burning during a long run.  It's not sold locally in my area, so I had to order it - lucky for me, Amazon started carrying it while I was looking into it, which was nice because otherwise I'd have had to order it from the manufacturer and pay shipping, and I hate paying for shipping.
I got my first bag, which contained 50 servings, and both Jeff and I started using it for our long runs.  This was back in June, so we gave it a good test over the hot summer months.  My longest runs back then were 5 miles - 5 hot, humid, and very sweaty miles.  The Tailwind worked great and it was all I used for fuel, when previously I might have had a gel/GU around mile 3 if I was running 5 or more miles.  We used up the first bag and I reordered, thinking I'd given it a good trial and was ready to blog about it.  And then I had a longer run where I totally bonked while using it, so I held off on the review.  I ended up having to use some extra fuel in the form of GU, which I wasn't thrilled about because more than one will really make my stomach hurt, but we'd started our training for Houston and our runs got longer, so I didn't have much of a choice.  The Tailwind worked great, but it just wasn't quite enough for me - possibly because I am a slower runner - however, it certainly helped with giving me a steady stream of calories, as I'd take a drink way more often than I was taking a GU, and with every drink, I ingested a few calories.
I feel like a bit of a mad scientist, mixing up our special running potion...er, drink.

We are now on our third bag of Tailwind, and both Jeff and I still really like it.  I mix it up in a pitcher the night before our long run and usually pour some into our water bottles and put them in the freezer overnight, and then add the rest of the Tailwind to the bottles in the morning.  The bag of Tailwind costs $35, which makes it 70 cents per serving, which is pretty reasonable for us.

My favorite flavor is lemon - it's very light, and not at all artificial tasting, nor is it overly sweet.  My water bottle holds 24 ounces, which gets me through most runs on its own, but during my half marathon last month, I stopped at the water stations when my bottle was about half empty and topped it off with water.  An additional benefit to having lemon-flavored Tailwind in my bottle became apparent when, around mile 11, I noticed that as the volunteer was pouring water into my bottle from a plastic pitcher, a bit of debris (probably a small leaf) was poured into the bottle, so I dumped it all out and started with clean water.  I ran on, and when I took my first sip, I realized that the lemon flavoring had been masking the taste of the water, which wasn't very good.  I was really glad I hadn't had to taste that for all 13.1 miles!

As with a lot of things related to running, I'm always on the lookout for something new and magical that will make my running better.  And while Tailwind doesn't make me run super fast nor am I able to get through a longer run without still needing a little extra (right now I'm trying out the Bolt chews - jury is still out as to whether they will affect my stomach but so far it's looking good), it's been a great form of fuel and electrolytes that is working very well for both Jeff and I.  Tailwind didn't provide me with any free product nor have they compensated me for this review - I just wanted to share this with you, in case you are looking for something similar.

15 comments:

  1. I like Tailwind the most out of all the fuels I've tried. I've run 3 marathons and multiple halfs on nothing but Tailwind. The goal is to take 20- 24 ounces/200 cals per hour. I'm going to share your post with Tailwind!

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    1. Even with our heat, I've never been able to drink quite that much per hour, but I figure with sipping every few minutes, I'm getting something besides water, which is good. You were the reason I finally ordered my first bag of Tailwind...but it still took me a long time to do so. I wish Tailwind was carried in more stores, especially in our area.

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  2. I've been waiting for this review - there is not a single fueling drink out there that I'm able to use. Nuun is fine, but it has no calories to replace energy, only electrolytes, which doesn't solve the issue of actually refueling. I need to see if I can find this in a smaller size to give it a try before I buy a big bag of it.

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    1. They do sell individual (2 scoop portions) packets, but first you have to find a local retailer who carries Tailwind to buy them. Otherwise, you'd have to order an entire box of the packets, which defeats your purpose...that's one reason why I waited so long to try this, because I was hesitant to make such a big purchase if I didn't like the product. Luckily I ended up liking it. :)

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    2. I just did a search and found out the running store a couple towns over carries it. I'll have to call them and see if they have those individual packages!

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  3. I like Tailwind. Orange is my favorite flavor and lemon is very good too. But, I've always used it in addition to GU and Salt Caps on long runs. I sweat profusely...or sparkle, I should say.

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    1. Oh, you just reminded me that I want to find some salt chews (I saw them online) to try - thanks!

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  4. Never tried it. I don't like to carry a bottle when I run so that's the problem. In races, I just drink water and carry GU.

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    1. I almost always use my Orange Mud Hydraquiver backpack, which works nicely in that the bottle is 24 ounces plus I don't have to hold it in my hands except for when I'm actually drinking out of it.

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  5. I was going to say almost EXACTLY what Wendy said! :) I've run three marathons on nothing but Tailwind and had great success (qualified for Boston!), but I really had to force myself to drink enough. Like you, I was a sipper. You'll really feel the difference if you drink enough, though. My motto is "Drink early, drink often." Starting within the first few minutes of my run has really helped. I'm pre-hydrated before I get de-hydrated. :)
    I haven't tried the lemon flavor (I like orange), so thank you for the review. I'll give it a try next time!

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    1. That's interesting Pahla - I will have to try pushing the hydration more and see if there's a difference.

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  6. So glad you found something you like and works for you! :)

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  7. I could not stomach the gel stuff - the texture was all weird to me. When I did that running club with my co-worker a couple years ago, they tried to sell us all different kinds of things, but I didn't like the flavor of any of them - love the idea of the powder though - but I wonder what 25 grams of carbs would do to my blood sugar?!

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  8. Sigh. I wish I were enough of a go-getter to need endurance fuel, but it's great to know about if I ever become as bad-ass as you are! Thanks for the info!

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  9. So glad you found something that works for you! Upset stomachs are never fun.

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