Maurten nutrition products have been creating a lot of buzz in the running and endurance community. The brand, a Swedish start-up, arrived on the scene in 2015 with an exciting new energy drink that was unlike anything else on the market. This unique product was being developed to help Eliud Kipchoge break the 2-hour barrier in a marathon, otherwise known as the SUB2 project. The product was also being used by multiple other high performing marathon runners.
The Carbohydrate debate
Carbohydrate availability is a significant limiting factor in athletic performance, particularly in running. We have a finite amount of carbohydrate stored in our body, called glycogen. Carbohydrate is our body’s preferred fuel source as it yields energy fast and enables us to train and race at high intensities. So, limited carbohydrate availability will result in impaired performance.
Endurance running severely taxes carbohydrate stores, so topping up on carbohydrates before and during a run is key in helping to delay fatigue and maintain performance.
The most common way to take on carbohydrate while running is by taking energy gels, chews, drinks and sometimes bars. Despite there being an abundance of products available, many runners still find it difficult to find an energy product that works for them. A high proportion of runners suffer from gastrointestinal distress during runs due to energy products upsetting their stomachs. Typically due to them having high concentrations of sugar and added flavours and preservatives. They also end up with low energy levels or ‘bonking’ during runs due to lack of carbohydrate availability. Maurten have created a range of products that are designed to help reduce stomach problems and maximise carbohydrate delivery so that athletes can push to their potential.
No ordinary sports fuel
Maurten have created a range of energy fuels that use hydrogel technology. This technology enables them to make carbohydrate-rich energy gels and drinks that our bodies should be comfortable with. Hydrogel technology enables a smoother transportation of carbohydrates through the stomach to the intestine where the carbohydrates are absorbed.
A hydrogel is a biopolymer and water-based structure with very small pores. Maurten make hydrogels with natural ingredients and then fill the structures with carbohydrate. They use hydrogel technology to make two different types of energy products:
The GEL 100 is a hydrogel – a biopolymer matrix, filled with a unique blend of fructose and glucose which enables a high intake of carbohydrates per hour. This gel is unlike any other ‘gel’ on the market as it has a structure to it and takes the form of an actual gel-like substance. It comes in 40g servings containing 25g of carbohydrates – a high carbohydrate to weight ratio.
This hydrogel (or liquid of gel form) is easily absorbed by the body, meaning you can ingest more carbs per hour (100g) than you can when using other gels, and without any stomach distress. The possibility of being able to take 100g’s of carbohydrate per hour without any stomach issues has the potential to significantly improve running performance.
How many Maurten gels should I take during my run?
Under 60 mins: 40g’s of carbohydrate (2 gels) should be enough to fuel runs that are <60mins.
Up to 2 hours: You should take slightly more for runs that are up to 2 hours, about 40-60g’s per hour (2-3 gels).
Anything over 2 hours: This should be increased again for races or runs than last longer than 2 hours. Consuming 80-100g’s every hour is optimal (up to 4 gels).
The GEL 100 is made completely from natural ingredients and doesn’t have any additives or preservatives added to it. It is also vegetarian and vegan. In contrast to many products out there, it’s tasteless. I find this to be a good thing as it makes it very palatable and there isn’t anything to get sick of.
Maurten also make a GEL 100 CAF 100 that contains 100mg of caffeine. Taking caffeine during a run can reduce the perception of effort and reduce pain.
Maurten Drink Mix (160 and 320)
Maurten’s first product was an energy drink but this is a drink like no other. After adding the Maurten Drink Mix to exactly 500ml’s of water (to ensure the mix is just right), you’ll have a high carb energy drink. However, the difference is that when you drink this, the fluid instantly converts to hydrogel (like the GEL 100) in the acidity of the stomach, encapsulating the carbohydrates. The hydrogel ensures a smooth transportation of the drink through the stomach to the intestine where the water, salt and carbohydrates are absorbed.
Normally carbohydrate drinks are
an ineffective way to consume carbohydrate because high levels of sugar in
water increases the osmolality of the fluid to the point where we can no longer
absorb it. If you have ever had ‘sloshing’ in your stomach then that’s what has
happened. In addition, drinks that have too high an osmolality (>4%) can
reduce the plasma volume of our blood and this will impair our ability to
produce power and regulate temperature.
The Drink Mix 320 contains 80g’s
of carbohydrate (per 500ml of water) and can be used before, during and after
running. I would recommend that this is used before a run to increase
carbohydrate availability thoughout. This would be a perfect way to
carbohydrate load the day before a race or hard session.
The Drink Mix 160 contains 40g’s
of carbohydrate (per 500ml of water). Similar to the gels, these are both
tasteless but the 160 feels easier to drink than the 320 so should be more
suitable for consumption during runs and races. This could be used the morning
of race to increase carbohydrate availability and hydration as well.
On hotter days, when hydration
becomes a critical factor, consuming the Drink Mix 160 alongside the GEL 100
would be a great strategy. Runners can aim for aim to consume 100g’s of carbs
per hour by using a combination of them both.
Fueled by Maurten
Maurten is the fuel of choice for a number of the world’s top athletes including Eliud Kipchoge who used Maurten gels and Maurten drinks during the INEOS 1.59 Challenge. If it’s good enough for Kipchoge, it’s good enough for us!