In my effort to understand nutrition as I expand my distance running beyond 30 km, I researched a lot and tripped over this product. I have been doing a lot of reading on what Ultra Marathon runners were using on more than one occasion Tailwind Nutrition came up.
As most of my readers know I have Celiac which means I cannot digest Gluten.. Tailwind nutrition also stood out because it is Gluten free/vegan/no soy/no dairy.
According to the tailwindnutrition.com site this product is:
All you need, all day. Really.
That statement alone was enough to sink the hooks into me and I began to exhaustively research the product. The main over riding statement of the creator is Tailwind was created to overcome the issues epic endurance runners have, more or less a stomach that feels like you have a brick in it. To demonstrate he also included a little video of his pass experiences crossing the finish/vomit line 🙂
So Tailwind is a powder that simply mixes with water to provide hydration, electrolytes and nutrition all in one.
Remember (ALL day, ALL you need) equally important is Tailwind is made from all natural ingredients and organic flavoring.
I had to try it out.. it was promising to be a silver bullet. (and they just never seem to truly exist in my experience)
I use a Nathan Ultra vest for all my runs over 16km the HPL-#020 to be exact.. I started this habit because in the end I strive to become an ultra runner and hey might as well get use to the extra 3.6lbs on my shoulders now rather than later. #DressForSuccess 🙂
I was very happy to find that Tailwind dissolves completely in water. Clear in fact… it left no after taste, or film and I didn’t notice any side effects of it gumming up my bite valve. SO that was all impressive. A quick rinse of the bladder / hose and hang to dry was all I needed to do after my runs. I also use CamelBac insulated 24 oz bottles on my shorter runs with the jet valve (I’m convinced that was a gift to runners from god!) The jet valve also had no issues, so Tailwind didn’t gum up any of my hydration containers of choice.
Quote from their site:
“Tailwind’s glucose/sucrose fuel takes advantage of how our bodies absorb nutrients. The combination of Tailwind’s fuel, electrolytes, and water has a synergistic effect, allowing the body to absorb more of each. Once in the bloodstream, the glucose in Tailwind fuels muscles directly, allowing athletes to go longer at higher intensities. Tailwind’s electrolyte profile mimics what you’re sweating out. Tailwind is all you need. Go ahead and donate those electrolyte pills to a good cause. You won’t need them anymore (and you won’t need to buy them!).”
I was a initially a bit concerned that I noticed the protein content wasn’t what I was expecting (non existent actually) .. so I found the following blurb on the Tailwind site and also a couple great “supporting articles”.
“Protein during exercise does not improve endurance, but it does correlate with GI distress.”
I have proven what this does with respect to the GI distress personally ..a time or two…
“Studies show no significant endurance difference between carb-only and carb-protein drinks. Protein is hard to digest and can shut down your digestive tract during exercise. It can also slow the absorption of carbohydrates needed to rebuild glycogen stores during the critical recovery window. For these reasons, protein’s not included in Tailwind.”
Want to dive deeper? Check out JoeFrielsBlog.com here and another article here.
I guess for me the next test was how my stomach felt 30 km and beyond… since the product is Quoted to say:
“Tailwind enters your system quickly, without taxing the digestive tract”
I found Gels would work for me on the shorter distances but once I have to take four or more in a race (not to mention wearing them while I tried to run and eat) my stomach starts to roll.. and usually I find I start to really feel hungry. Tailwind because it is mixed with the water and you take the volume over several smaller sips during the run hasn’t caused my tummy to revolt. The most interesting thing I noticed was after a three and half hour run.. I wasn’t hungry when I got home and typically I would feel like I could gnaw off my own arm if it got between me and my next protein source!
Details on the bag:
Tailwind mixes with water to meet all your calorie, hydration, and electrolyte needs, without upsetting your stomach or making your taste buds revolt. Just toss it in a bottle or hydration pack, shake, and GO!
- Complete calories, electrolytes, and hydration: Ditch the gels, chews, and pills, and go all day with just Tailwind.
- No gut bombs: Stomach problems? You’ll love Tailwind. Unless you enjoy being doubled over, retching.
- Tasty all day: Clean, light flavors taste better the longer you go.
- Hydration pack love: Dissolves on contact with water and cleans up with a quick rinse. No film, aftertaste or science experiments!
- All natural: Crystal clear with no dyes, preservatives or 4-syllable magical ingredients.
Each serving is 100 calories. For endurance workouts, mix 2-3 scoops per 24 oz of water per hour. Adjust to your personal calorie needs during training, using hunger as a guide. When it’s dialed in, you’ll feel satisfied and energetic, not hungry or full. On hot days, keep the same calories per hour, but increase water. To use in combo with other foods, reduce Tailwind intake by the calories you’re consuming elsewhere to avoid overloading the gut. For shorter workouts (<2hr), you can use less Tailwind to taste.
All Natural and Organic Ingredients
Dextrose (Glucose), Sucrose, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sea Salt, Organic Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate
Gluten free/vegan/no soy/no dairy
Tailwind also has a caffeinated version for those of you who don’t have time for your morning coffee 🙂 I did trial it with no side effects …but personally I still prefer to run without Caffeine.
SO after using it several times trialing I still had two outstanding questions
- What happens in cooler temperatures where I need less hydration but still need my full nutrition?
- Currently I am using Tailwind for shorter up to 42.2 KM runs, is there a better way to prepare and or use the product?
I couldn’t really find these answers on the Tailwind site (well the answer were out there on Facebook however I am not a big facebook “fan” and didn’t think to go look there) so I contacted customer service with my query.
Jenny in Customer service is amazing.. she held my hand through all my questions and these are the highlights.
- Because Tailwind is pretty flexible in terms of how you can run with it, there are a couple of different approaches that you can take while running marathons. I would go ahead and run with the 20oz bottle, and just grab an extra 4-8oz at the aid stations to stay on top of your hydration. Here a couple that have been mentioned on our Facebook page and I would pay close attention to the gel option since this is the modus operandi that most runners use during a marathon:
- *Run with pre-measured baggies. This way, when you get to an aid station, you just dump the bag in your water bottle and fill with water. You want to pay close attention to your caloric intake/hour so try to stay as close to the “x amount of calories”/hour that you’ve dialed in during your training runs.
- *Finally, run Tailwind as a gel. Caleb Masland, a coach, uses this approach along with his Team Wicked Bonkproof members. You can find the post here, http://www.coachcaleb.com/training/tips/daily-coaching-tip-mix-your-own-race-calorie-solution, but I also cut and pasted it below. The key thing to remember is that if you are running Tailwind at a higher concentration, then you need to keep up on your water intake. As a datapoint, each 100 calorie gel requires about 12oz of water to digest it. If you don’t keep up the water, you run the risk of dehydration since your GI system will literally suck water from your body to digest those calories. This can lead to stomach ills and why so many people run into problems with gels.
These last two steps are the Golden Nugget of the correspondence in my opinion
Step 1: Ignore the Package Directions. For a race situation, you want to carry as little as possible. Once you have determined how much fuel you need (based on experimentation during long runs of various intensity), you want to get that into the smallest package possible. I need about 500 calories for a marathon, and if I were to follow the directions on the package, I would need to carry 2 big handheld bottles. Instead, I mix the solution much stronger, and put 500 calories into 2 6-oz. plastic flasks, which I can carry with my Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab Gloves.
Step 2: Switch to a “Little Sips, More Often” Intake Approach. I promise that you will find it easier on your stomach to use this approach, but you need to get used to doing it. During a marathon, I take a little sip right after hitting the lap button for each mile. Then, I supplement with water on course since I mixed the solution stronger than package directions. The biggest risk with this approach is getting behind on caloric intake, so you need a system to follow.
SO… what are you waiting for??
You must by now be asking “Are there any Cons??”
I can at this point say there is only one negative thing about this product…
the shipping costs to Canada from the USA are insane!!
I just ordered $70 dollars worth of product (100 servings) and Paid $43 dollars shipping.. EGAD!!
However.. it is worth every cent to me. The Tailwind company as a whole is amazing to deal with.. they call themselves a “nano-sized family business, coming at nutrition from an endurance athlete’s perspective.” Maybe it is this small size but considering how successful they are in the Ultra community, I was greatly impressed with how quick and very helpful they were in every aspect of their business. So impressed I will continue to do business with them even with the extreme shipping costs.. I just hope they work something out with their two Canadian Distributors.
For those of you in the Toronto area please check out Walk, Run, Ride www.walkrunride.ca
I spoke with Terry D’Ettorre President / Owner (905) 951-0025 who is just starting to distributing Tailwind. Great guy and also very helpful.
55 Healey Road, Unit # 5
If in the area you have a cheaper option… now to find someone to do the same in Atlantic Canada 🙂
Let me know what you think of Tailwind.. or if this review helped you in any way.