Energy drinks in endurance sports - that's why they make so much sense

Squeezy Energy Drink

Today, the term "energy drink" is also misleading. It refers not only to the energy drinks that come from sports nutrition, but also to hip sugar boosters with other stimulating ingredients. We restrict ourselves to serious sports drinks and explain what is important and why they are a great alternative or supplement to gel and bars in endurance sports.

Especially in long-distance races such as marathons, but also in triathlons, the small cups are standard along the route. Filled with energy drinks from short- and long-chain carbohydrates, they form a solid supply of energy, are easy to consume and usually everyone tolerates them well. 150ml of Squeezy Energy Drink contains just under 10g of carbohydrates. This is about a quarter to a third of the required intake if you stay in the fat metabolism (GA1). Four cups per hour in this range are enough to reach the finish line safely and at the same time not get a problem with the water supply.

Most athletes, however, complete races in the upper performance ranges GA2-EB and need rather 40-80g carbohydrates per hour in order not to get too much into a supply deficit. Here it is therefore advisable to "top up" ideally with gels and well distributed over the hour. About 750ml of water with a 50g sachet of energy drink yields 56g of carbohydrates and is thus in a very good range for most athletes. If you need a little more, you can take an additional sachet of gel per hour. Taking in more will not provide any further benefit (very few top athletes excepted) and will only keep the stomach/intestines extra busy. This should be avoided.

Product image: SQUEEZY ENERGY DRINK Orange 12 x 50 gram display
SQUEEZY ENERGY DRINK Orange 12 x 50-gram. Dissolved in water, 50g of powder gives a ready-to-use solution of 750ml of finished energy drink.

Advantages of energy drinks

Taking combined, short- and long-chain carbohydrates as an energy drink has a whole range of advantages. Not only for runners, but also for cyclists and other disciplines such as obstacle racing or trail running.

  • uncomplicated intake by drinking with simultaneous compensation of lost liquid and salt through sweating
  • Largely high compatibility
  • very fast recording and uncomplicated handling in the course of the race
  • can be easily combined with gels
  • very simple to mix yourself, if it is to be taken along in bottles
  • Gluten and lactose free, no artificial sweeteners or colors and of course suitable for vegans
  • Package sizes in 50g, 500g and 2kg

Alternative - Energy Drink Gel

Of course, there is also an option between energy drink and energy gel, the drink gel. This gel, diluted with water, can be consumed without drinking afterwards and does not stick in the mouth. One sachet of Squeezy Drink Gel or Super Drink Gel (with caffeine) with 60ml content contains 20g of carbohydrates. So 2-3 sachets per hour are also enough. The liquid contained in the Drink Gel is enough to get by for up to 2 hours without further liquid intake. For loads above this limit, you need additional water to prevent a fluid deficit.

Sugar bombs like Coke or Red Bull in the running?

We don't want to end this simplified guide without mentioning the popular boosters like Coke or Red Bull that are handed out from time to time. Yes, a cup of cola or energy drink with caffeine, guarana and and leads to a pretty quick energy boost and can also mentally push something. But please don't forget that the seductive kickers with their simple sugars raise the blood sugar level extremely and let it fall into the cellar just as quickly as they came - if there is no replenishment. If there is no simple sugar available because the next supply is still kilometers away, the game can also end very quickly with a DNF. It is therefore advisable to resist the consumption of simple sugar boosters or to use them only in the final phase of a race to keep the effect under control.

And the ever-popular apple spritzer?

Of course, apple spritzer can also be mixed in a 2:1 ratio - i.e. 2 parts mineral water to one part apple juice. When buying ready-made spritzers, make sure you don't buy any with added sugar! Apple spritzers are not so good for longer periods of exercise, because although they contain minerals such as magnesium and calcium, they are weak on sodium and potassium. However, these two ingredients are important for maintaining performance and are always contained in good sports nutrition.