Couch to 5K
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Should I use low calorie 'energy' drinks?

I have just hit my first 5 mile run, and normally suffer from tiredness which has stopped me hitting that goal. Today I had a 'Pink Bolt' drink (Sainsbury's own Red Bull equivalent) before my run which seemed to keep me going. Normally I am not a fan of caffeine, I don't drink tea or coffee and very very rarely touch coke or Lucozade, but thought I'd try it to see if it made a difference. It is sugar free and only 9 calories, but is there anything else that people try which helps?

6 Replies

I don't bother with energy drinks but I do like to make sure I've eaten some time before exercise, although some people feel they couldn't possibly eat before and rely on energy drinks to power them through and eat afterwards. I think the effect is often psychological- last week I felt tired before running, even though I'd had my normal breakfast (home made fruit muffin!) because I'd had two bad nights, so I drank a glass of diet cola thinking that if it powered my grandchildren, it might work for me. I did the run, but I probably would have done anyway! Five miles is quite a long way, so if it helps to take something, then do so. Just make sure you credit yourself with the success, not the energy drink! :)


Well done on that run!

I gave up coffee for Lent and have stuck to that so I find that for runs of up to 4 miles I do ok if I have just a few mouthfuls of tea and half a banana half hour before.

If I plan to run 5 miles or more I eat my breakfast (or whatever meal is appropriate to the time of the run) an hour before, I take dilute apple juice (half juice/half water) with me to sip whilst running, and, following my marathon running sister;s advice, take a couple of jelly babies with me in case I need a bit of a boost towards the end of the run. You find what suits you though.


Thanks for the jelly bean advise, have heard that before and as I am also getting pretty tired on longer runs I am really pleased with this tip which I had forgotten.


Isn't low calorie energy drink and oxymoron? Just a thought... :) The rule of thumb tends to be that you should start thinking about eating, and definitly drinking, while you run, if you're running for over an hour.

Jelly beans are good for an energy hit, so is a banana, but it's a pain to carry. I can't cope with energy drinks for some reason, always makes me feel queezy, whick kind of defeats the object. Try different stuff, see what works.


Depending on your pace, 5 miles might be long enough to consider adding food/energy drinks, but they are usually unnecessary for runs less than 1hr, or, according to some experts, 90 min. I would probably skip the energy drink - if it has 9 calories, it isn't giving you energy (you would need 9 calories to digest the thing!). Ditto with the regular full-calorie energy drinks, unless you really want the extra calories that are largely sugar.

Speaking of sugar: bananas have tons, but they are also high in fiber and some argue the fructose is treated differently than other types of sugar. Plus the extra vitamins and potassium help replenish you. So if you like bananas, enjoy. Candy does not have the same attributes.

One possible energy source that is also good for you: nuts. A small handful of almonds will give you protein, fiber and fat without spiking your blood sugar, and are as easy to carry as candy. If you want to try it, eat them a little earlier than you would candy - they stay with you longer and will give you energy steadily over a longer period.


I do notice the difference when I've had an energy drink or energy tablet before I run, I could well be psychological but all my runs when I've had one of those have been faster and easier. I don't like to eat beforehand if I run in the morning so I find that the energy drinks or tablets give me the boost I need.


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