Troubleshooting with Tailwind
Even folks who have been using Tailwind for many years sometimes run into problems when their distances get longer, their training conditions change, etc. Although Tailwind usage is simple and fairly formulaic, it can help to troubleshoot your nutrition with someone else. Luckily for you, that’s what we’re here for! Check out this conversation between a customer and our co-founder, Jenny. This woman had been using Tailwind for quite some time, but had recently upped her runs to 6-7 hours. She lives in a very warm and humid climate as well. Customer: “...My last 3 long runs, have been disastrous from a fueling standpoint. After about 4 hours, (and in the sun and heat) I have become super nauseous. I am unable to take in another sip without getting sick. I have ended up walking just to not be sick. When I get back, I have blurred vision, incredibly light headed and have to lay down to keep from passing out. I have an 18 oz. water bottle and I fill it with 1.5 scoops of raspberry buzz and sip it over about 2 hours. I refill it at each 2 hour point. I don’t eat before I go out, nor do I eat on the run because I read that you didn’t need anything else with Tailwind…” Jenny: “...I'd like to take a step back and explain how Tailwind works to provide some context. The easiest way to wrap your head around Tailwind is to think of the 3 components of your fueling strategy: calories + electrolytes + water. You are expending 500+ calories/hour, but you can only physiologically process/absorb between 200-300 calories/hr. The goal is to stave off the depletion of your glycogen stores through a combination of what you are consuming, your fat stores, and anything else it can convert to glucose. Tailwind gives you your calories through simple carbohydrates, dextrose (glucose) and sucrose (glucose + fructose) which literally are in the form of energy that your body runs on - so quick gastric emptying and delivery to your cells. Your body has about 1.5 hours worth of calories within its glycogen stores, and the key to running with Tailwind as your sole fuel source is figuring out what your caloric intake/hour should be. Most runners end up at 200kcal/20oz of water/hour and dialing up or down depending on how they feel. If feeling overly satiated/bloated dial it back; if feeling low on energy, up it a bit. So, as you can see that the hydration and calorie consumption is very important. It takes around 10-12oz of water to digest 100 calories, and if you aren't drinking enough water, your GI system will literally pull water from your bloodstream and bring it to the GI system to process those calories. AND, you want to take in as many calories your body can absorb per hour. So there are two things you absolutely need to do:
  1. Up your calories to 200 calories PER HOUR so that you don't run out of energy for any runs that are 2+ hours. You can get away with your concentration for 1 - 1.5 hours because your glycogen stores contain enough calories to help you. At the 1.5 hour mark, more than likely your glycogen stores are depleted and your body. At your current rate, you are only taking in 75 calories/hour.
  2. Make sure you are drinking around 20oz of water PER HOUR. At your current rate, you are only taking in 9oz of water/hour. This is particularly important where you live because your body is actually losing a ton of water through your sweat. Most folks who live in your area I actually recommend that they up their water consumption by an extra 4oz per hour (so 24oz of water/hour).
  3. Top off your glycogen stores before your long runs. Because you are depleting your glycogen stores, you want to start with them filled to the brim for your longer runs.
So in a nutshell, up your water intake. I think you are super dehydrated by only drinking 9oz of water/hour (especially in Florida!) and you are probably under-fueling calorie wise. Everything gets compounded the longer you go. Even if you are under-hydrating by 4oz/hour, over 6 hours that adds up to a full water bottle that you are behind!” Have any troubleshooting questions for us? We are always more than happy to chat with folks about concerns, issues, nutrition planning, and more! Contact us here, or message us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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