Since progressing to the ultramarathon distance, I have seemed to always struggle with GI distress. I do not have the ideal body composition for running ultramarathons. In fact, from my physique, most would think that I am more of a marathon or less type runner. I may be better built for and faster at shorter distances, but I find the most enjoyment out of running ultra distances. Weighing in at 145 pounds and 6 foot 2 inches, any fat reserves for running the 100-mile distance are used up very quickly. Thus, finding a balance of calories, energy, and hydration has been a consistent battle. With the discovery of RunGum Energy, my sources of calories have not changed, but my nutrition strategy, I believe, has taken a turn for the better.
So What is RunGum?
RunGum is a not an ordinary chewing gum. If you are a chewing gum type person, you better forget all your assumptions before trying RunGum.
One piece of RunGum is packed with 50-mg of caffeine, taurine, and B-vitamins. With each pack, you receive two pieces of gum. For a moderate lift in energy, one piece of gum is perfect. For that maximum lift in energy (too much of a spike for me), both pieces can be taken at the same time. We know that caffeine gives you energy. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is important in the metabolism of fats. B-vitamins, specifically B-6 and B-12 in the case of RunGum, help support adrenal function, help calm, help maintain the nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes.
When you first start chewing a piece of RunGum, it is going to crumble and feel like a powder in your mouth. As you keep chewing, the gum becomes more like a normal gum consistency and less dry. Available in three flavors – cinnamon, mint, and fruit, with each flavor you will notice the taste of caffeine. Remember, one piece is packed with 50-mg of caffeine, which is a large amount to try to mask the flavor of in something so small.
There is no waiting for the energy boost with RunGum. The caffeine and other ingredients will be absorbed quickly through the sublingual and buccal glands in your mouth. After just a few minutes of chewing the gum, you have gained all its benefits and can spit it out if you want. Or you can keep chewing the gum if that helps you to focus and relax.
How RunGum Works for Me?
Since RumGum Energy contains zero sugars and calories, it fits nicely into my race nutrition regimen. I have used RunGum with success both as a pre-workout and a mid-run source of energy.
On track or tempo workout days, I chew one piece of RunGum before I start my warm-up and the other right before I start my workout. Following this order has seemed to give me the best balance of energy throughout a training session.
During my long runs is where I have found RunGum to be most beneficial. As I mentioned, I have had difficulty balancing calories, hydration, energy, and the elements. This difficulty mostly comes occurs in training sessions or races lasting longer than 4-hours. In 2013, I started using Tailwind Nutrition as my primary source of calorie intake. I would rely on the caffeinated flavors of Tailwind to give me energy and calories in many of my races. In some key races, such as the 2016 Western States 100, I made the mistake of consuming too many calories in search of the energy lift from caffeine.
Tailwind Nutrition is still my go to for calories in running long. However, with RunGum, I am able to separate out those moments where I need calories or where I need energy. Often times, I will start a 3+ hour run with a bottle of water for the first hour. Then, I mix-in 100-calories of non-caffeinated Tailwind for the even hours (2, 4, 6, etc.), and chew a piece of RunGum every 90 to 120 minutes. By separating the two key components, I am able to scale up or scale down on each more efficiently. For me, this is a perfect response to balancing the heat, my bodies needs, and the way I am feeling.
As I prepare for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 on July 15th, I am again fine-tuning my race nutrition strategy. I am more confident than ever with the combination of Tailwind and RunGum. The two together will help to reduce instances of GI distress and propel me forward to the finish line.
Next time you see me out the on track, trail, or road, ask me for a sample of RunGum!