THE OLD WAY The go-to ‘sports drink’ was delicious water.
THE NEW WAY The sports drinks industry rakes in billions per year, and energy gels come in every conceivable flavour (including some that, frankly, should have remained in the lab, safe from humanity’s taste buds).
THE BEST WAY We now know that taking in adequate fluids, electrolytes and easily digestible
carbs before and during a run can improve performance, says Lewin. That ‘adequate’ amount of fluids varies from runner to runner and even from day to day, but you’ll know you’re drinking the right amount if your urine is light yellow. (Darker urine can indicate dehydration; clear urine may mean you’re drinking too much, which can be equally dangerous.) As for energy, your body can process 30-60g of carbohydrates (one or two gels) an hour.
We also now know that consuming the right foods postrun can boost muscle recovery. Lewin recommends a snack with simple carbs and protein, such as some yoghurt with fruit or a glass of chocolate milk, within 30 minutes of runs lasting an hour or longer.