Energy drinks provide an alternative to energy gels when you’re running for an hour or more. For shorter runs stick to water or low calorie electrolyte drinks because staying hydrated is your priority. Like gels, energy drinks help to replace glycogen store and their primary ingredient will be carbohydrate, together with electrolyte materials. But energy drinks have the added bonus of giving you the water and carbohydrates that you need in one product.
It’s important to choose an energy drink that has been specially formulated for sport – this is often highlighted on the label. Fruit juices or high caffeinated drinks like Red Bull are too highly concentrated for use during exercise. They take longer to empty from your stomach and may cause discomfort, as well as failing to refuel you as quickly as sports drinks.
Sports drinks come prepared, typically in a 500ml or 750ml bottle. You can also get the powdered version that you mix with water. It’s generally recommended that you mix your sachet or gel with 400ml -500ml of water.
You should aim to drink at least 500ml per hour of running, and around 750ml if it’s a hot day. Just take several sips at regular intervals. If there is a particular sports drink brand sponsoring a race that you’re training for then try drinking it before the day so you know that your body can handle it.