Back to the Track: A New Workout & A New Sports Drink

As most of you know, two weeks ago I ran my first 50-mile race.  Recovery took a little longer than planned when I got sick for almost a week afterward.  I hadn’t been sick in years, but given the exertion (and the heat) of that day, I guess it’s not all that surprising that my immune system was weakened.

I eased back into training with a relaxed week, the most difficult workout of which was a new one at the track that I did for the first time.  I also tried out  new product, Gatorade G2 Natural (yep, high-fructose-free Gatorade).

Here’s all you need to know about each.

A Speed Workout Built for Marathoners

I’ve written about track workouts before, and this one isn’t too different from the mile repeats I explained in that post.  But while that focused on speed—only three mile-repeats at a very fast pace—this one feels more appropriate for endurance training.

It’s simple: Run a mile at your 5K pace.  Rest for two laps (jogging recommended, walking okay).  Repeat.

Shoot for four of them at first, and work your way up to six (or eight, which is what this guy who I ran with did.  He was featured in Runner’s World this month!)

It doesn’t sound terribly exciting or fun, but the stuff that works never is.  Two laps of rest seems like a lot, but these miles will wear you down.  After four of these at 6:20 pace, I was finished.  I’ll blame the 50 and the illness and try again next week.

New Gatorade G/G2 Natural

Don’t deny it.  You kind of snicker (like I do) when you see runners drinking Gatorade.

I like Gatorade.  It tastes good.  But until recently, it has been a convenience store treat or a hangover-killer, not a sports drink.

But then Gatorade came out with the G Series.  Designed for optimal performance, not for pairing with beef jerky and Doritos.  Specifically targeted for pre-workout, during-workout, or recovery.  And no more high-fructose corn syrup.

Now Gatorade has gone one step farther (presumably to please the all the whack-jobs like us who really pay attention to ingredient lists!).  The new G Natural and G2 Natural boast all-natural ingredients.

G2 Natural: Water, sucrose, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, sea salts (sodium chloride, potassium chloride), sodium citrate, beta carotene.

G2 Natural Low-Calorie: Water, sucrose, erythritol, citric acid, natural flavor, sea salts (sodium chloride, potassium chloride), sodium citrate, vegetable juice, Reb A (PureVia).

Sure, it’s not Vega Sport, but come on, this is pretty good for Gatorade.  Those -oses are just sugars, nothing to be afraid of if you’re working out hard.  The G2 Natural has a few ingredients that might raise red flags: erythiritol, which is a sugar alcohol, and Reb A, a stevia-derived sweetener.  Both are used to replace sugar in the G2, which is the low-calorie version.  (I still don’t really get the idea behind low-calorie sports drinks anyway, unless the sole purpose is to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes.  When I drink a sports drink, I do it for the sugar and calories.)

Gatorade sent me one bottle of each to try out and review.  I really enjoyed the G Natural, which tasted only slightly more medicinal than regular Gatorade.  I drank it during my track workout and it certainly did the job of satisfying the thirst (Gatorade’s still “for that deep down body thirst,” right?)

The G2 Natural tasted sort of like regular Gatorade, but it had that easily-identifiable stevia aftertaste, so I didn’t like it nearly as much.  But I suppose if low-cal is your thing, then this would be a pretty good one.  (If that’s the case though, you might want to consider reading a different blog.)

If you’re interested in trying G/G2 Natural, they’re only available at select Whole Foods stores right now; you can see which ones on Gatorade’s website.

So that’s it!  New workout.  New sports drink.  Not sick anymore.  Registered for the Vermont 50-miler in September and the Marine Corps Marathon in October (more on that in another post).

Life is good.



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  1. I have to admit that I am a G2 addict. I can’t stomach the regular Gatorade as it is too sweet for my tastes. Last thing I want after a race is real sweet stuff. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could drink anything after or during a run other than water. I am much better at it now.

    • Nicki and Amber, ok you guys get a pass. I just don’t want people to make the mistake of trying to do endurance training and also to limit their calories…especially if you’re vegetarian, it’s hard to get enough calories to keep up with all that exercise!

      • Oh yeah – guess no Steamtown if you are running the Marine Corp, right? I’ll see you in Boston next year. 🙂 I have decided that is a trip I will make regularly as it was so much fun.

  2. Gatorade at Whole Foods, huh? Who’da thought!

    Good to know there’s a low-cal version. For us female runners with piss-poor metabolisms (I gain weight on 1700 calories a day, while training…no joke. It’s sad), it’s really nice to have that option.

  3. You are so friggin’ hardcore.

    I’ve never liked gatorade because it tasted sort of empty and I could almost feel the sodium. However, for a hardcore runner (I stick to water so I’m obviously not) I suppose it could be quite the thing.

  4. oooo-so interesting to see that gatorade is jumping on the natural sweeteners train. I like that-definitely a step in the right direction! I’ll keep my eye peeled for that.
    The track workout looks good-i’m definitely going to work on incorporating more speed workouts in my training.
    hope your first father’s day was lovely!!

  5. Great digest Matt! I’m going to start up with the Vegas Sport, only used this product a hand full of times. I’m glad you’re feeling better – very excited to run the 35th running of the Marine Corps Marathon will you in Oct 😀

  6. I’m just happy Gatorade is figuring out they don’t need to pump athletes with chemicals to make their sweat hot pink to perform well.

  7. Marine Corps Marathon? THAT sounds like tons of fun!

    I’m glad that you’re feeling so much better. And I have to say, even though I’m not a fan of sports drinks, those ingredients ARE fairly decent!

  8. Matt, I’m going to do some speed work at the track Wednesday night. You in?

  9. TexasTim says:

    I’ll be doing Marine Corp as well, we’ll have to wear our shirts for a veggie brigade.

    Another great marathon workout is partner mile repeats. Partner up with someone with similar 5K pace. 1st person runs their mile and tags the second at the end of the mile. Rests while the partner is running. Repeat until someone quits. Quitter buys the beer.

  10. Christine McInnes says:

    I love the sports drink featured on this web-site and the book Thrive (lemon-lime) but I have to admitt… I have used G2 when I am short on time. I can’t wait to check out G2 Natural.

    Also I am getting ready to run the Marine Corp Marathon too. I would like to run a sub 4 hours (which is 23 minutes faster than my previous PR) I will be hitting the track for some speed workouts for sure and love Texas Tim’s idea.

    See you at the end of October!! Train Hard – Race Easy!

  11. Heading out for the track this morning…doing my old standby workout of Yassos (800m repeats @ marathon goal time which is 3:50 for me , with 400m recovery) I will be attempting to get through seven of them.
    Doing Yassos helped me bring my marathon time down from a 4:13 to a BQ 3:50

    My drink of choice on long runs and at track workouts is Accelerade, but I will have to check out the new gatorade products.

  12. I’m really glad that Gatorade has been listening to the anti-HFCS complaints. I try to go as natural as possible, but it is one thing that really does help me rehydrate when running longer distances. I just like it really diluted so we bought the powder since it’s also HFCS-free. I’m glad to know there are some other options out there now. We’ll have to check and see if this has shown up around here.

  13. Nappie Dee says:

    Been using Chamois Butt’r for years and years! One can use that stuff for just about anything imaginable. For running, Body Glide has been a wonderful find. Also very happy to read about the G2 product, as was unwilling to experiment.

  14. MCM! I’m running it too!! Let’s plan a fun veggie dinner or lunch! 🙂

  15. is there milk protien in the g2 natural gatorade??

  16. Thanks for your article. My husband has a history of severe migraines and cannot have preservatives such as potassium sorbate,etc. So, we were concerned about the monopotassium phosphate in Gatorade but the G2 natural doesn’t contain the other ingredients are not triggers, so we’re happy about that. Do prefer the regular over the low cal though..thanks again!!

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