Why Tailwind Nutrition?
An Introduction to Tailwind
The XMiles team were first introduced to Tailwind Nutrition by a number of athletes in the ultra running community during 2016 who would swear by it for both events and training & with such a positive word of mouth response for a product, we had to find out more!
A common point of discussion on many forums regarding nutrition for pre and during long runs, and fuelling for ultra races, is 'What are you going to use for fuel?'. Expecting the normal response to be solid foods (bars, chews and homemade snacks), gels and then adding an electrolyte based drink for hydration and sodium (electrolytes). However, we were surprised by the answer that was popping up again and again, not only from the hard-core but also from a growing number of top ultra runners was "I'll be using Tailwind'!
And, as we researched further, it seemed to be the perfect solution for runs where you would normally take a bottle, soft flask or race pack to carry fuel, with the much-discussed added bonus of reduced likelihood of an unsettled stomach.
How It Has Worked For Me - By Anthony (XMiles Team Member)
Thinking back to a my nutrition for key races, and even during my A Race, the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k road race, where my nutrition went well, I always felt that I didn't take on enough fluid and the gels weren't the ideal solution at 50 plus miles because my stomach became a bit more temperamental as the race progressed.
As a rule I tend to avoid fuelling during training so that I get the full benefits of fuelling up on race day, however on longer runs of over 20 miles or 3 hours I do carry an emergency gel or some chews/sports beans to snack on. Therefore, heading into the 2017 summer season, I had to make sure I tried and tested my race day fuelling, ensuring I was maximising my training potential and recover for the next session, and made sure to give Tailwind a go.
I switched to Tailwind as my primary fuel for long runs, with a focus towards my 'A race', the Anglo Celtic Plate 100k Road Race, in May 2017, which turned out perfectly, with 7 hours of fuelling on Tailwind every 10K.
Read my full ACP Race Report.
While I still use energy gels as my fuelling strategy for the fast road races and road marathons, I find Tailwind ideal for those races where I can leave bottles at aid stations, or for 20 plus mile off road runs where I'm able to carry it in a race vest.
But don't take my word for it alone, see what others think of Tailwind and how they use it for training and racing, and if you want to give it a go try the flavours in the trial pack.
See what our featured runners say;
Tailwind has already been featured in our 'Runners Profiles' check out what the runners have to say and how they used Tailwind in their 'A Races';
Robert Turner's profile from his 3rd place at ACP 100k 2016
Robert Turner - I'd first come across Tailwind on the US based Ultra Runner Podcast. The host of the podcast interviews runners, race directors and gear manufacturers and this Tailwind product came up again and again with the interviewees raving about it's seemingly magical powers. No bonking!! What? I thought bonking was part of running any race over about 26.2 miles. I WANTED!!!
The problem was it wasn't available in the UK and the costs of shipping it from the US was astronomical. Then Mike comes along and sets up Tailwind UK, it took me a while to discover this. I read a lot of blogs by ultra runners and noticed the Tailwind product getting mentioned more and more. I had to have it and quickly ordered the multi flavoured stick packs. I first used them in the Glen Ogle 33 ultra in November 2015 and I used only Tailwind. I completed the race in 3 hours 36 minutes, a new course record, and I used 2 Tailwind stick packs in water. One just before the race started and one half way through. No bonks, no bad patches, just a subtle constant flow of fast acting carbohydrates. My nutrition is generally low on carbohydrates, which I think only adds to the power of these little packs of energy; the train low race high strapline you hear so often these days.
James Stewart's profile from his win at the 2016 West Highland Way race.
Kasia Lubowiecka's profile from the Dorset Invader Marathon.
Mike - Tailwind Nutrition UK
Tailwind Nutrition UK was set up in 2015 by Mike Julien. A veteran of 5 x Ironman triathlons, the Marathon des Sables and various UK ultramarathons.
Mike has completed 5 Ironman triathlons in 5 years on a mixture of powders, gels, jelly babies and luck. He doesn't have a sweet tooth and as he advanced in age he sought out any advantage he could. With Tailwind he found he no longer needed to calorie count, a couple of mouthfuls every 10 minutes and he could go as long as I wanted with enough calories and electrolytes and a settled stomach. Not having to think about inputs reduced stress which improved performance without having to learn the science.
Now the official version from the US . . .
All you need, all day. Really.
Getting nutrition right for a long day training or racing is tough. Keeping track of food, drinks, gels, bars, chews, electrolyte/salt pills, etc. just gets tougher as fatigue sets in. Are you getting enough calories? Too many? Staying hydrated? Just how many electrolyte tablets do you need anyway? Tailwind simplifies all that by giving your body what it needs – complete energy, electrolytes, and hydration in a simple drink with clean, light flavours. Tailwind is designed to maximize absorption of fuel, water, and electrolytes while being easy on the digestive system.
Curious how it all works?
Tailwind mixes with water to fully meet your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs. You can ditch the gels, bars, chews, pills, and food and go all day with just Tailwind in your bottle or hydration pack. Most of our customers use it this way. Tailwind’s glucose/sucrose fuel takes advantage of how our bodies absorb fuel to maximize intake of calories. Once in the bloodstream, Tailwind’s glucose fuel directly powers muscles, sparing precious glycogen stores and allowing you to go longer and at higher intensities without bonking. Tailwind’s electrolyte profile mimics what you’re sweating out, so you don’t have to take separate electrolyte pills to make up for what’s not in your drink. The combination of Tailwind’s fuel, electrolytes, and water has a synergistic effect, allowing the body to absorb more of each.
Easy on Your Gut
Efficient fuelling is great, but not if it ties your stomach up in knots or causes GI distress as so many products do. We’ve been there, and nothing’s worse. Sipping Tailwind provides steady, small doses of fuel that empty from the stomach quickly. The composition of Tailwind’s fuel matches what the digestive system is set up to absorb through active transport mechanisms that function like pumps, without requiring digestion first. That’s key to avoiding stomach upset and the GI problems accompanying incomplete absorption typical of so many nutrition products containing ingredients that require digestion before they can be absorbed .
Tasty All Day
From thick textures to sickly sweet tastes, most drinks, gels, and chews are hard to take for more than a couple hours. That’s where our endurance experience comes in. Tailwind is deliberately mild and balances just enough sweetness to keep you drinking with the saltiness your body craves while sweating. Customers describe the flavours as “clean” and “light” with a mouth feel as close to water as you can get while still meeting your nutrition needs. Hydration-Pack Friendly Finally, a drink you can use in a hydration pack without fear of science experiments. Tailwind dissolves completely on contact with water and cleans up with just a quick rinse of water. The same goes for bottles too – just a couple quick shakes, and you’re ready to go. No film, no lingering aftertaste, no gooey mess.
Simple vs Complex Carbohydrates
Tailwind uses simple carbohydrates (dextrose and sucrose) as opposed to complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin, glucose polymers, super starches, food)
Fast-acting carbs are rapidly absorbed in the GI tract, rapidly transported to muscles cells, and rapidly metabolized to provide energy to working muscles.
Long-acting carbs such as super starches, complex carbs and food are absorbed more slowly, and must be metabolically converted to fast-acting sugars before they can be transported to the muscles and used as energy. All this takes time (and energy).
Remember, you are running a calorie deficit from the get go so Tailwind gives you fuel in the most efficient way possible – it’s delivered in the form that your body already uses
Result: it doesn’t hang out in the stomach and cause GI distress
Multiple Carbohydrates vs. Single Source Carbohydrates
Tailwind uses a dextrose-sucrose mix. Recent research has come out that shows if you combine different types of carbohydrates, you can actually INCREASE the amount of calories absorbed by your body by up to 40%.
Result: you can absorb more calories
Protein has been shown to be a major contributor to GI distress
Important for recovery and as part of your overall nutrition plan, but not during your activity (unless it’s multi-day and you take protein during your downtime).
Full Complement of Electrolytes:
Tailwind mimics the composition of sweat:
Sodium: 0.9 gram/litre
Potassium: 0.2 g/l
Calcium: 0.015 g/l
Magnesium: 0.0013 g/l
Most drinks only contain about 15% of what you need, and then you need to supplement with salt pills
Most important piece of information though: Most folks think of cramping when it comes to sodium, but the real reason to include sodium is that it activates the glucose and fructose transport mechanism. The glucose and fructose are transported across the cell to power the muscles, but when you introduce sodium, not only is a glucose and fructose molecule transported, but a water molecule as well. This means you get more hydrated when taking sodium with your drink
Many folks underestimate the importance of taste and texture…until they are in their 3rd hour
Most drinks on the market are overly sweet which taste great during the first 2 hours, but give you the “gag reflex” after those initial hours. The worse outcome then happens: you don’t drink which means you aren’t taking in calories, electrolytes, or water
Tailwind has a mild, clean taste that you can drink all day without getting sick of it
End result: easy on the gut
Tailwind was formulated with special attention to being easy on the gut
Simple vs complex carbs = easy on the gut (GI system doesn’t need to break down complex carbs to simple carbs)
No protein = easy on the gut (GI system doesn’t need to convert a long chain complex molecule to glucose)
Won’t overload the gut: once you dial in you caloric intake/hour, it is difficult to mess-up. Drink 1 bottle of Tailwind with your caloric intake/hour and you are good.
Optimal ratio of glucose to fructose. No fear of fructose malabsorption
Mild taste: no gag reflex that makes your stomach say “no”