Our bodies need fuel to move. Our food fuels us much like gasoline fuels a car. We can only go so far in one fill-up and we need more fuel.
In our case, fuel is carbohydrates. Sugar.
When we run, we use the sugar that we already have in our bodies as fuel. After about an hour, it's time for more. There are all kinds of fueling options on the market. Gels are very popular because they're so easy to eat while running: open the package, suck out the contents and swallow. No chewing (and choking) necessary.
I used gels when training for my first half marathon and had to deal with nausea during every long run and diarrhea afterward. (TMI? Sorry.)
I tried chews next. Think: fruit snacks with a (much) higher price tag. My belly seemed to like eating solid food, rather than gel, but I still have the occasional belly issue. My biggest issue with the chews is trying to eat them in the winter. They freeze and threaten to pull my teeth out when I chew.
Enter Island Boost.
|Picture taken from the Island Boost Website.|
Island Boost is not a chew or a gel, it's a liquid. It's made with coconut water, glucose and natural island-y flavors. The fine folks at Island Boost use no artificial sweeteners or flavors. Laura warned me that it would taste really sweet because of the glucose.
Side note: Laura is the runner who created Island Boost. She had digestive troubles with traditional fuels, so she made her own belly-gentle fuel so she could continue to run long.
Island Boost also has a larger package than gel fuels; this is to help the runner not spill the contents of the pouch when they tear the tab to open it. When I fold the top of the package down, the pouch is about the same size as other gels.
I decided to put Island Boost to the test during a 14 mile run, the first run in a long time when I would need to fuel twice. I tend to get hungry when I run and I had concerns that the liquid fuel wouldn't curb my hunger like solid fuel does. I packed a serving of chews in my hydration belt pouch, just in case.
I ate my usual breakfast of Greek yogurt and granola before my run and met my friends at 6:30am to start. The hungries hit me around mile 5, as usual, and I took the first Island Boost at mile 6. Holy cow, it was really sweet...and almost salty. I had to drink a little water after, but that might be because I was thirsty to begin with.
An amazing thing happened. I wasn't hungry anymore.
So I kept running. After mile 9, I was on my own. My friends aren't quite as crazy as I and "only" wanted to run 10 miles. I feel the need to tell you all this because in the picture, you might notice that I'm wearing ear buds. I don't want you to think I'm anti-social and listen to music while I run with friends. I don't. I'd much rather talk. And talk. And talk.
I took the second Island Boost at mile 12. This one didn't seem salty, so maybe I was dreaming the saltiness of the first one.
Another amazing thing happened: I had no belly troubles. No cramping, no nausea and no threats of pooping in my pants.
I used my third pouch of Island Boost on an eight mile run during the week. My run was at 4am and it was very dark, so there are no pictures of that one.
Again, I ate my usual breakfast and headed out the door. I started to get hungry around mile 5, drank the Island Boost at mile 6 and never thought of hunger again for the rest of my run.
I'm a fan of Island Boost.
- It tastes good. Yes, it's really sweet, but I didn't find that to be a problem.
- It's easy on the digestive system. This is a really big deal while distance running. Bathrooms are not always available and dropping trou on the side of the road is frowned upon. (So is dropping trou in someone's front yard. Did you hear about this?)
- Packaging is easy to use. Making the pouch larger to prevent spills is brilliant. Way to go, Laura!
I'm sure as more and more runners start using Island Boost, more stores will start carrying it, but for now, the availability is limited and there isn't a single store that sells it in Ohio.
If you're lucky enough to live near an REI, go pick up a pouch or two to try! You won't regret it.
Have you ever tried Island Boost?
What did you think?