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How to use Tailwind Nutrition for Long Runs

Tailwind is our preferred nutrition source for running. It provides the calories and electrolytes needed for optimum performance and does not create any GI issues. “Tailwind mixes with water to meet your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs, no matter how big a day’s in front of you. Deliberately mild, customers describe the flavors as “clean” and “light” with a mouth feel as close to water as you can get while still meeting your nutrition needs.” -Tailwind Nutrition Besides being a complete solution to fueling, the Tailwind Nutrition people are awesome. They have great customer service and genuinely care about helping you become a better athlete.

There are plenty of ways to add Tailwind to your runs. This is what works for us. One note, I did not mention, after I put the 4 servings of Tailwind in the soft flask I add just enough water to create a concentrated liquid form of Tailwind.

Equipment Used:

  • Osprey Rev 6 Hydration Pack
  • Salomon Soft Flask (made by Hydrapack)

How to use Tailwind Nutrition for Long Runs


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Jason says:

    How many of your other posts are advertising based? I’m not knocking you for advertising so blatantly, I just want to know if you are reviewing very few/some/most of the products you write about on this blog and how many are advertisements.

    Again, not bothered that you’re advertising. A man’s gotta eat and all. Just curious how much is opinion and how much is sponsored.


    1. This actually isn’t an advertisement. We like to promote the products that we use, and at the same time help runners discover products that can help them enjoy their time running. Samples are often given to review from shoes to gear. I have received samples of Tailwind and I have purchased Tailwind. The other products in this review, The Osprey pack and the Salomon flask were paid for by me. Typically we make it clear that the product was provided for review. In this case, it was me addressing a question I get about using Tailwind. No money or product was provided for this post. I just happen to love Tailwind as a fueling source. It doesn’t hurt that I like the company behind it. -Thomas

  2. Brad Patterson (@patterbt) says:

    This is a very interesting way to use Tailwind on long runs. I’ve tried using concentrate and then mixing with water at aid stations to refill my 20oz handheld during a trail marathon; but never used straight up concentrate to sip from before. I’ll for sure have to test this method in my next training cycle for a 50 miler in 2015. I just got a new hydration pack (the inov8 race ultra) that has a bladder in the back and two bottles in the front (down low by the hips) so your method should work ok with my pack. Thanks again for posting the video.

  3. Brad Patterson (@patterbt) says:

    To respond to Jason’s comment, I have talked to Thomas previously about how to use/carry tailwind for a long race and ended up using tailwind solely for my training cycle this last year. I used it for my nutrition/hydration needs on both a trail marathon and a trail 50K this year. It’s a great product, and really deserves some props.

  4. Rod says:

    Which size flask did you use? How strong is the taste? Great idea. Thanks.

    1. I used this one an 8 oz., but you can get them cheaper from Hydrapak. It is a strong salty sweet taste. I would try it before going out for your run so you know it is okay for your tastes.

  5. Gregg B. says:

    Thomas – thanks again for another insightful review. Been exploring new alternatives after bonking and battling nausea during a recent race. I’m going to give this a go. Thanks!

    1. Gregg, I hope this works for you. There is nothing worse than knowing your legs can make it but your stomach can’t. Good luck.

  6. Juan says:

    August 14, 2012Hi Rod,Thank you for your question. The short aesnwr is a dextrose (glucose) and sucrose combo is more easily absorbed than Maltodextrin, and the combination of carbohydrate sources optimizes both carbohydrate and water uptake. If you’ll bear with me, I’ll dive into the weeds here and explain.Maltodextrin is a chain of dextrose (glucose) molecules of manufactured to a specific length. The length correlates with how long the molecule takes to break down into individual dextrose molecules before being absorbed. The advantage of Maltodextrin is to lower the osmolarity of the solution by combining multiple dextrose molecules into one, thus having a smaller number of larger molecules per a given amount of water. In theory, this should make stomach emptying easier. However, tests of stomach emptying rates haven’t borne out a clear advantage. In part, this is because the Maltodextrin chains start to break down on contact with saliva, raising the osmolarity of the solution before it gets to the stomach where the chains stop breaking down until it reaches the small intestine. Also, stomach emptying rates vary according to a host of variables, of which osmolarity is only one. One study found that a 10% glucose solution (not Maltodextrin) emptied as fast as plain water during exercise when a need for energy existed. Finally, active transport mechanisms in the small intestine actively move glucose molecules into the bloodstream and take water with them (the transport mechanism requires sodium to be present as well). This mechanism is more efficient than osmosis for hydration you actually hydrate better with a higher glucose concentration solution than a lower one. The Maltodextrin chains that are still unbroken in the small intestine have to be broken down (digested) before the glucose can be transported. The chains are relatively easy to break, but it stil delays glucose uptake and hydration compared with glucose alone and places a higher demand on your digestive system.Tailwind uses dextrose because it requires no digestion to be absorbed from the small intestine, while still emptying from the stomach quickly. This removes the potential for GI issues from slowed digestion of Maltodextrin. Some athletes experience GI problems using Maltodextrin over multiple hours. My feeling, and this is just conjecture based upon personal experience and talking with many athletes, is that the Maltodextrin that was easy to digest in the first couple hours becomes increasingly difficult to digest as our digestive abilities degrade with duration and intensity of exercise. Everyone is different, and certainly many athletes don’t experience problems with Maltodextrin, but then, many others do.The Sucrose in Tailwind serves two purposes. It’s a sweetener to make the drink sweet enough to keep you drinking and provides energy and optimized hydration. As a sweetener, it’s easily digested and unlikely to cause GI problems. Some drinks use alternative sweeteners like Stevia, which fools the mouth into thinking it’s getting sugar, but in reality, Stevia is an undigestible molecule that isn’t absorbed by the body at all (it eventually passes through). Again, we are optimizing for absorption and avoiding anything that will stay in the gut for a long time.The Sucrose also contributes to energy uptake and hydration. Sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose in the small intestine. The glucose is rapidly absorbed by the glucose transport mechanism. The fructose is absorbed via its own independent transport mechanism that behaves similarly to the glucose transport. Studies have found that having two carbohydrate sources (glucose and fructose) present at once in the small intestine increases carbohydrate and hydration uptake rates. There is a balance here though in that fructose metabolizes in a different way than glucose, going through the liver, while glucose is directly utilizable by muscles once it hits the bloodstream. Also, too much fructose can pass undigested into the large intestine, causing GI issues there. For these reasons, we steered clear of including large quantities of fructose.I hope this helps explain why we’ve chosen simple fuels for Tailwind optimizing energy absorption and hydration while avoiding digestive demands that can cause GI issues.

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