Best Energy Drinks for an Ultra Marathon
An Ultra Marathon is any foot race that is longer than a traditional Marathon length (26.2 miles).
Most races are run in one day but some may become multi day events.
Ultra running is arguably one of the most extreme tests of endurance, and you will be pushing yourself to your physical and mental limits.
Ultra Marathon Nutrition:
Nutrition is the key to success in all disciplines but is especially important in ultra running as you will be pushing your body to its physical limits.
Like all long-distance races you must consider the three phases of your nutrition: pre, during, and post.
Pre-ultra you will be making sure your glycogen stores are fully topped up (this is where you get your energy from) usually through ‘carb loading’, and that you are properly hydrated.
In an Ultra you may be running for anywhere between 10-24 hours depending on the event. For these events in race fuelling is crucial.
Post-race your nutrition will focus on recovery, replenishing lost glycogen and electrolytes, and repairing damaged muscles. In a multi-day event this can be the most crucial stage, you must recover from the stage you’ve just completed whilst also preparing for the next day.
Energy Drinks are a popular product for in-race fuelling amongst athletes of all disciplines, but are especially favoured by Ultra runners. Easy to sip on the go as well as providing both energy and hydration in one product.
Energy Drinks are ideal for Ultra Marathons as they can provide an easy high-carb alternative for people who don’t get on with Energy Gels.
Learn more about Energy Drinks How: How & When You Should Use Them
Things to Consider:
For an ultra you will likely need to take on more carbs than you would for a regular marathon. In significantly longer races many athletes can benefit from a higher carb intake of around 60-90g per hour. If you’re going to up your carb intake it is important to do this gradually during training to avoid GI issues and carb overload.
Using varied carb sources are also important. If you can, try to opt for an Energy Drink that uses a dual-carb blend such as Maltodextrin & Fructose. This ensures better and faster carb absorption whilst avoiding stomach upset.
Replenishing your electrolytes during an Ultra is incredibly important. Neglecting electrolyte replacement will leave you at greater risk of dehydration.
One of the key benefits of using Energy Drinks is not only do they provide Energy but they also keep you hydrated as the majority of drink mixes include electrolytes like Sodium & Potassium.
Electrolytes are key to The Art of Staying Hydrated During Workouts.
Some people will benefit from a caffeine boost during the later stages of a long race. If you’re one of these people then you’ll want to look out for a caffeinated Energy Drink mix like the Maurten Drink Mix 320 CAF 100.
It is always important to consider the other products that you might be using in conjunction with your energy drinks. Energy gels, energy chews, & energy bars are all fine to use with your energy drink but may contain some of the same ingredients or have similar nutritional content.
It is always worth checking so you don’t overload.
Here are some of our recommendations for high-carb Energy Drink mixes that are perfect for your next Ultra Marathon.
- 79g Carbohydrates
- Also available with Caffeine
- Uses Maurten’s hydrogel technology to enhance absorption and reduce stomach upset.
- 60g Carbohydrates
- 378mg Sodium
- Vegan & Gluten-free
- 90g Carbohydrates 2:1 Maltodextrin: Fructose Ratio
- 200mg Sodium
- 60g Carbohydrates per 1 litre.
- 1000mg Sodium per 1 litre.
- Other electrolytes: Magnesium, Potassium & Calcium