With an exception of gluten, with its myriad side effects, I pretty much have a cast-iron stomach. Hot, hot, hot chiles? Love ’em. Highly acidic foods? No problem. Pretty much the only food I won’t ingest are those foods I simply don’t like (looking at you, calamari!).
As a runner, however, I have a more complicated relationship with food and beverage. I’m not a morning eater, so struggle to find something that my stomach will tolerate while it’s still waking up — because I need *something* on those long run days. Since the obvious carb-heavy choices are a bit of challenge for me, I, well, let’s just say, ingest some pretty weird stuff. But it works.
Then comes the hydration part of the equation. For years, I’ve suffered the effects of Gatorade and Powerade. I simply don’t feel great when I drink them (and I feel like the post-run bloating lasts for days). I’ve tried every flavor, and, if push comes to shove, I will confess that Gatorade’s Raspberry Lemonade flavor is…okay. My problem is these beverages are too sweet for my palate.
And they tend to linger on said palate for far too long. I try to compensate by mixing up a half-Gator/Powerade, half-water thing, but worry I’m diluting the benefits of the hydration aspects of these drinks.
Luckily, my husband turned me on to Skratch Hydration mixes. Finally, a drink that wasn’t overly sweet! Finally, a drink with all the hydration benefits I need without any discomfort or lingering taste in my mouth. Plus, all flavors are gluten free — no worries there!
Skratch products come in a variety of flavors and sizes. Our household is partial to the Matcha Green Tea + Lemons, a caffeinated beverage, but I’ve really enjoyed all flavors. We buy the 16 ounce bag, which is about 20 servings. At about $20, it’s priced in line with Gatorade.
(Other flavors feature lemons, limes, oranges, raspberries, and even cinnamon)
As a bonus, the powdered beverage also comes in single-serve sizes, which are perfect for refilling on the run (ha!). Mixed into 16 ounces of water, you’ll get about 80 – 90 calories as well.
What do you use to keep hydrated when exercising or when it’s hot?
Tip of the Week
Not surprisingly, I tend to pack a lot of safe foods when I travel for races (or anything, really). Since hotel rooms don’t always have refrigerators handy, I prepare my drink mix at home and freeze it. This lets me use the bottle(s) as additional ice to keep everything fresh and safe.
Menu of the Week
There is a lot to be said for carbo-loading before a race. If I don’t give my body appropriate carbs starting a couple of days before the race, my legs tend to die. The mind is willing, but the legs are ready for a long nap.
Events that offer pre-race meals tend to focus heavily on (traditional, gluten-filled) pasta, so I either make do with foods from home or enjoy a carefully vetted restaurant. I have a friend who is amazing at finding the most delicious GF meals in any city.
One reliable choice when my friend isn’t available to find a local joint is PF Chang’s. They have a great gluten-free menu, and their fried rice is perfect for a pre-race carbo load. And for a post-race carbo-refill. While I tend to go light on the veggies pre-race, I definitely pile on the rice!
- Fried Rice (Pre-Race)
- Grilled Chicken or Salmon (Pre-Race)
- Lara or Other GF Bars (Pre-Race)
- Instant Oatmeal (Pre-Race) — Most hotels have coffee makers that can double as hot water-only makers!
- Potato Chips or Snyder’s Gluten-Free Pretzels (Post-Race)
- Whatever You Want Because You Made It Through and Deserve It! (Post-Race)