The bad news about racing faster is that it means your workouts get harder. It’s really unfair when you think about it. You push yourself and persevere while simultaneously wondering why you find racing even remotely fun. Then you get a PR. Yay! You ride the high for a day or two. Before you know it your next workout day is up, which isn’t great to begin with, and then you realize you have to go even faster now to keep up with your training. So that’s awesome.
So my tempo run yesterday. It wasn’t even that my three miles were much faster than they had been, if at all. It’s that they were supposed to be faster which tricked me mentally into thinking that it felt much harder. Let’s not even discuss the two cool down miles afterward that lasted at least forty minutes.
But I digress. The main point of my post today is to declare to the world I mean my two readers that I’m going to work very hard to give up Powerade Zero. It’s embarrassing that I even drink it at all. For the most part, I eat whole foods. Bill and I cook a lot at home. I don’t buy much packaged processed food. Our favorite friends are the ones who like to hang out at each other’s houses and cook and eat good food. I gave up pop (Midwest strong!) two years ago. I stopped chewing gum this year. I care about things like soy protein isolate and BPA in canned beans. Why the heck am I still drinking Powerade Zero nearly every day?
I think I originally got into electrolyte drinks after an annual physical with my doctor a few years ago. He expressed some concern that with my naturally low blood pressure, getting even minimally dehydrated during my summer runs could put me at risk for fainting and other negative side effects of low blood pressure (nausea, dizziness, weakness, fatigue). He encouraged me to drink daily electrolyte drinks to help prevent dehydration and keep everything running smoothly.
That made sense to me, especially since I had experienced all of the symptoms of low blood pressure and dehydration after my summer runs. Since I needed only electrolytes and not fuel, I wanted to avoid sugar water based drinks. I tried the drinks advertised as more “natural” without sugar, chemicals, artificial colors and flavors, and drank them almost exclusively for a year. The taste of stevia doesn’t bother me, but my stomach doesn’t love it. Plus, the more I read about it, the more I became convinced that stevia is not nearly as well researched as other artificial sweeteners, and while it enjoys a campaign involving words like “clean” and “natural” there is not much long term research regarding its long term health effects.
So last summer while we were at the beach (the day before the first Track Shack series race) I picked up some Powerade Zero at Publix because it was convenient and I wanted to make sure I was fully hydrated for the race. It was delicious. And easy. I ran a great race and I logically concluded it was because of the Powerade.
Over the last year, I’ve been drinking way more Powerade than I need, and I’ve realized that my water consumption has drastically decreased because of it. Sadly, water just doesn’t taste as good to me as it did before. I find myself craving something more flavored and sweeter. Not cool at all. Plus, while Powerade is easy on my stomach, I hate that it has artificial coloring in it and other questionable ingredients. Good thing I gave up Coke Zero.
So here I am ready to be done with it for good. It turns out that there are a lot of foods that are naturally high in electrolytes and I eat them already. Bananas, dates, peanut butter, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges, melons, raisins, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, beans, avocado. The list goes on.
I’m also planning to try some coconut water again once I consult with the Food Babe to determine which ones are legit. We live in a strange world.
If I start experiencing the nausea and lethargy I used to feel after running, then I will stick to my nuun tablets (strawberry lemonade without the stevia). Imperfect, but at least it doesn’t have all of the junk that gives my Powerade that mystical blue color.
My primary goal is to drink more water, but I plan to have this on hand (made with regular old Earl Gray or my beloved Lemon Ginger) for days when I’m simply bored and want a non-water drink. I might give my Tazo iced herbal teas another whirl. Maybe mix in some watermelon juice or pureed fruit to make it interesting? Plus there is always LaCroix, which I love but BPA, and the sparkling waters from Whole Foods are really good too.
I think I can do it – I’ll keep you posted!
Do you regularly drink electrolyte drinks?
Do you like coconut water?
What is your favorite flavor of tea?