Saturday, June 21, 2008

S Caps vs Endurolytes vs Nuun

Did another test run today to try out electrolyte replacement strategies - a 2 hour run on the trails at Afton with Heed and S! caps. Today's weather was mid 70's and sunny, which was similar to last weekend when I tried Nuun (with Clif Shot gel and Endurolytes).

My plan for today was to take the first S cap after 30 minutes, then another at 90 minutes. I had 20 oz of Heed in my water bottle and refilled with plain water approximately 7+ miles into the run. I really don't care for the taste of Heed, but I've used it in the past with no ill effects, and it's the sports drink that is used for several local races (including the upcoming race at Afton in 2 weeks), so I train with it prior to those events.

Results: no cramping, no hand swelling, no upset stomach :))

In the past, I've taken as many as 6 Endurolytes, also with Heed, and still had some cramping and hand swelling under similar conditions.

Some interesting numbers:

Endurolytes: 40 mg Na, 25 mg K, 50 mg Ca, 25 mg Mg, Vit B6, Manganese. Cost 15.8 cents/cap, recommended dose = 1-6 caps/hour. Six caps = 240 mg Na (less sodium than 1 S cap) and cost 94.8 cents/hour. And I was still cramping and having hand swelling.

S Caps: 341 mg Na, 21 mg K. Cost 17.5 cents/cap (when shipping is included for just 1 bottle - they can't be bought locally in the Twin Cities), recommended dose = 1-2 caps/hour. So far, 1 cap/hour has worked just fine, but even 2 caps/hour would cost only 35 cents. If you buy more bottles at a time, it's even cheaper.

Nuun: 360 mg Na, 100 mg K, 125 mg Ca, 25 mg Mg, Vit C, Vit B2 in 16 oz drink. Cost 54 cents/16 oz drink. It worked in the sense that I didn't experience cramps, but I did get a queasy stomach after 12 miles. Still plan to experiment with Nuun a little bit more before giving up on it.

Thoughts: I'm a salty sweater, and the Na content in Endurolytes doesn't seem to keep up with what I lose, even when I max out their recommended dose. It's also almost 3 times more costly than S caps. Nuun seems to work, but doesn't agree with my stomach after 1 major and another minor test. Tastes kinda fizzy, even though it's done fizzing when I drink it.

Bottom line: looks like S caps are the current leader in this battle so far.