Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nuun Review: The Good and the Annoying

One of the biggest variables I have yet to dial in for racing/training is my hydration strategy. As a result I'm always looking for new products to try on my runs. My tummy is pretty tolerant of foods while I'm running, so gels, blocks, and even solid foods seem to go down okay. So carbs are okay, and water is good, but I still seem to be missing electrolytes in the equation. Some have advised that the electrolytes in gels etc. should be enough, but I have not found this to be the case. I actually sweat out a lot of salt and I routinely come back from longer runs with salt encrusting my face, on hot days cramping usually results if I am not taking some sort of electrolyte replacement.

I was intrigued by the concept of Nuun, a flavored electrolyte replacement with no calories. In other words Nuun leaves the nutrition up to gels and other sources and just amps up the salt. As a bonus it comes in tablet form, so you can turn any water source into electrolytes on the go. I tried a tube (12 tablets) of the Lemon flavor and am pretty impressed with the taste. It is not sweet, just mildly lemony and a little salty (the salt taste is enough to be not so pleasant if you are not thirsty). It also dissolves very well in my water bottles, which has been a problem for other products I have tried. I have not had any problems with cramping even on the hottest days, plus I can drink this with energy gels without having to worry about a carb overload. In all I think this is a great product and best of all it feels a lot better than popping electrolyte pills.

Now for the annoying. When you drop the tablet into water it bubbles a lot like an antacid. This would not be a big deal, but unfortunately a lot of gas remains dissolved even after the fizzing stops. When I close up my water bottles this builds up inside resulting in a blast of gas the first few times I open the bottles on the run. Also, it can force the water out of the bottle as it shakes, dripping all over my hands. For my Ultimate Direction bottle, which can remain open without spilling, this is not such a problem, but for my Nathan bottle it is a pain. Is it annoying enough for me to stop using Nuun? Frankly, yes, if I really need a portable electrolyte replacement e-caps are really much less hassle, and probably a lot cheaper. But that doesn't mean they won't work for everyone, especially if you have an aversion to pills!

2 comments:

Megan said...

One thing about the leaky-bottle issue, though, is that Nuun doesn't make things sticky! I agree that it is cumbersome to have a leaky waterbottle, but at least it doesn't leave sticky gross-ness on your hands after it dries :-D

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