Race preparation: Product reviews

Besides the physical training, a lot of my activity involves race-day preparation — finding which fuels don’t upset my stomach, figuring out which layers work best in certain weather conditions, placement of my water bottle for easiest access, etc.

There are certain items that are required by the race directors of my Febraury race. Fail to pack these essentials, and time will be added to what will probably be a pretty slow race time.

So here are some things I’ve tried out so far and how well they’ve worked out.

My disclaimer: I was not paid to endorse any of these products. I bought them all myself. While I am a Nuun  and SkirtSports ambassador, the companies aren’t compensating me for my review.

Run gum comes in three flavors mint, cinnamon and fruit.

Run Gum

Created by Olympian Nick Symmonds, Run Gum is a caffeinated gum that offers vitamins and other ingredients aimed to boost athletic performance.  It comes in three flavors: mint, cinnamon and fruit. Cinnamon is my favorite.

The gum is made in a powder form that reacts to heat. I had my first piece of the gum right before my cold, 5-mile trail run. It reminded me of when a Sweet Tart dissolves in your mouth, which was alarming at first. The instructions say to keep the gum warm to maximize the flavor and not have the dissolving issues I had.

While I can’t chew and trail run, I can see how the product would provide a nice distraction during a workout. I did notice the caffeine boost, and it lasted quite a while, which was good considering my run was an hour and 10 minutes.

The cost of a box is about $22.49 for 12 pack. Each pack contains two pieces. If you subscribe to the company’s newsletter, you can be alerted to discounts and other specials. I bought a sample pack at a reduced price and will use the product again as my budget allows.


Powerbar Clean Whey Protein Bars

Available in three flavors, I tried the Powerbar Clean Whey Cookies and Cream flavor at the grocery store, but bought the White Fudge Raspberry.

I carried the bar in my backpack during the 5-miles trail run I mentioned earlier. After I finished, I hoped to have the bar for recovery fuel, but wasn’t able to find it.

So I had the bar about an hour after the workout. It wasn’t like the sample I had at the grocery store. It looked a bit like a brick of taffy and kind of had the same chewiness as the candy. See the little cube in the bar? That’s the white fudge, the best part of the bar. I liked the cookies and cream and would probably get that flavor again. 

I will pass on using these bars during a race and try another flavor at another time.

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Nuun Hydration comes in several flavors including tri-berry, ginger lemonade and grape.

Nuun Hydration

My kids hate Nuun, except for grape flavor. I like the adult flavors such as ginger lemonade, cherry limeade and tri-berry.

Nuun is a hydration drink that includes electrolytes and flavoring. Some Nuun contain vitamins and/or caffeine.

Nuun is about $7 online for a tube of 10 tablets. Each tablet goes into a 16-ounce container of water (some flavors taste better hot, as a tea). 

I also purchased some Nuun Plus, which has more electrolytes. You add it to your Nuun if you’re doing a long workout of two hours or more. I plan on using Plus with grape Nuun for my trail race, as I expect to be running for a while.

A SkirtSports visor and Lioness skirt with built-in shorts

SkirtSports Lioness skirt

SkirtSports is a Colorado-based company that creates fitness clothing for real women. It’s clothes includes bras, tops, skirts, dresses and leggings.

The Lioness skirt pictured here is in the Free Love fabric pattern. There are pockets on each short leg. My iPhone 6 fits these pockets. One pocket has a port with which your headphone cord can fit through.

There is a third, zipped pocket in the back, on the waistline. 

I wanted this skirt for my upcoming trail run because getting stuff out of a backpack during a trail race is a pain in the butt. I just want to reach into my shorts, get my fuel or SPIbelt H2O Companion bottle, and keep moving.

I have worn the skirt over some leggings and it felt great. I even went on a treadmill run. It was so cool that my phone stayed in place. 

The prices for SkirtSports items vary. Some items are cheap while others are more expensive. I will wear my skirt (which I got on sale for about $25) during my run. I’m concerned about whether I’ll need to double-layer my tights due to the cold on my trail race. 

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