my favorite things giveaway ~ nuun, accel and picky bars

I’ve talked before about all of the things I have implemented in my training and racing to become a better, smarter, stronger and faster runner.  It’s a work in progress — I am a work in progress — and a journey, without a doubt.  No one single thing is solely responsible for making us good at our sport. Rather, it is a combination of things and we are smart to constantly look at what we are doing (and not doing) in order to find ways to improve and enhance our performance and our experiences.  I feel that way about all areas of life – I never want to get so stuck in my ways and stop growing as a person.  That’s one reason I like running so much — it keeps me moving.  It keeps my heart open and my mind open.  It keeps me young in more ways than one.

I wrote a post not long ago about how I’ve improved as a runner (you can click here to read it).  I talked about how I added regular speed work, paced my runs properly and with purpose, built my mileage conservatively and consistently, became dedicated to Pilates and strength training, started foam rolling every single day, and more.  I also mentioned that I FINALLY figured out my hydration and nutrition plan – before, during and after my runs.  What works for one runner may not work for the next – it is different for everyone and we all have to experiment to figure out what combination works for us – but there is no question that we all have to drink and we all have to eat.  This may sound like common sense (and it is) but if I had money for all of the runners I have met who say they “can’t eat” before, during or after a run I would be a very rich lady.  I get it, too – because I honestly used to be just like them!  And I had miserable runs and races a LOT of the time as a result.  About a year ago I finally realized that if I wanted to improve my running I would HAVE to figure out the right hydration and nutrition plan for me.  I would have to get over the fact that I didn’t feel like eating breakfast right before I ran.  I would have to eat and drink on a run even when it was the last thing I felt like doing.  And I would have to put something in my body SOON after a run in order to recover the fastest so I could keep up with my training.  I committed myself to figuring this out and thankfully, through a lot of trial and error, I am at a place where I feel good about it and I believe it is working for me.  It’s not perfect – I am still open to trying new things and improving on it, but right now these are my favorite things…

In order to perform at our very best, we have to be properly hydrated.  I used to try drinks like Gatorade and Cytomax – they made me feel awful every single time.  I would get cramps.  I would feel nauseous.  It turns out that my body just did NOT need all that extra sugar (surprise, surprise!).  Then I tried drinking just water, which still works great for me when I’m running shorter distances and even for my longer runs (as long as I have my gels, which contain electrolytes, protein and sugar).  But I was still showing up for my runs not properly hydrated – and this is just not a good way to start a long run or a race – trust me!  Last year I discovered Nuun and this product has become a STAPLE for me and for my family.  Basically any time that I am not running – I am drinking Nuun.  I drink insane amounts of it for the day or two before my long run or race especially, to ensure that I am fully hydrated and that I have the proper balance of electrolytes going into my run.  I need not worry one single bit about dehydration when I lace up my shoes.  Nuun is awesome for a lot of reasons – it tastes great, it has no sugar, it is low calorie, it’s convenient, and it has the perfect balance of electrolytes for endurance athletes.  It is absolutely 100% something I can count on.  And what’s more exciting is that just last week Nuun introduced a brand new product called Nuun All Day – not only does it come in 4 new **amazing** flavors (I cannot wait to try the Blueberry Pomegranate), but it is all natural and is enhanced with vitamins and minerals.  I have a feeling this product will stay true to it’s name – it is something I will drink ALL DAY pretty much every day.  It will make my water taste delicious and refreshing.  Let’s face it – hydration is important even when we’re not running peak mileage or training for an endurance event, but we may not need the level of electrolytes that the regular Nuun provides.  Nuun All Day is the perfect solution for those times (and I think my kids are going to love it, too).

Accel Gels.
For runs and races of more than 10 miles, my body needs more fuel to sustain my effort and perform at my very best.  It doesn’t take too long for my muscles to get depleted of their glycogen stores, resulting in me feeling lousy and exhausted pretty quickly.  I think it is pretty safe to say I have tested every single gel on the market.  The one that works best for me actually came as bit of a surprise – Accel Gels.  The reason I was surprised by this is because it contains milk and my stomach is sensitive to dairy.  However, the milk provides protein which seems to be a magical thing for my muscles!  In addition to that, these gels are all natural and have a 4:1 carb to protein ratio, giving me the energy I need as quickly as possible.  They are not thick like most other gels I have tried – and they go down pretty easily thankfully.  I wouldn’t say any of them are “delicious” but I buy the chocolate and vanilla by the case and they get the job done.

Picky Bars.
For a long time I was in denial about the importance of eating soon after a long run, a hard track workout or a race.  My stomach is often “testy” after such an effort and the very last thing I feel like doing is eating.  I learned in my RRCA coaching class that it is crucial for endurance athletes to eat within the first hour or two (and ideally, within the first 15 minutes!) of completing a workout.  I also learned that foods with a 4:1 carb to protein ration would be ideal, and that a mocha latte or chocolate milk would be perfect.  But could I stomach that?  Or would it be enough?  Last summer I started treating myself to a soy white mocha after all of my long runs.  I love them and I think they are a sweet reward and a smart choice right after my runs.  But, truth be told, they aren’t *really* enough and when I am done with a race I usually don’t find a barista at the finish line to serve me up my special recovery drink.  I need to EAT something.  As someone who eats a (mostly) vegan diet, it can be tricky for me to find foods that are high enough in protein.  Picky Bars changed that for me.  These bars are made from the finest all natural and organic ingredients, they don’t contain any dairy or gluten, they taste great and they are made by athletes (Lauren Fleshmen and Steph Rothstein!) for athletes.   I keep them in my bag and in my car so that I always have one handy when I need it and can start recovering as soon as I finish my run.  They are awesome.

Thanks to these three products, my hydration and nutrition needs are completely taken care of.  I don’t stress out about it because I know that I can count on them if I stick to my plan.

I love them so much that I want to give you the chance to win a sampling of some of my favorite things for hydrating and fueling.  Fall marathon training cycles are about to start – and it’s a perfect time to figure out what works best for you!

The Prize:
One winner will win a package with the following ~
* 4 tubes of Nuun (including one tube of Nuun All Day!)
* An awesome blue Nuun 21 oz. water bottle
* 4 Picky Bars (one of each flavor – including the newest flavor – Smooth Caffeinator!)
* 2 Accel Gels (one chocolate, one vanilla)

(almost) the whole package – add one more picky bar and 2 accel gels to this!!

To enter please leave a comment telling me how you hydrate and fuel – before, during and after your runs.

And if you are feeling extra excited and eager to win, you can do one or all of the following (doing so will gain you one extra entry!):

* follow Pace of Me on Facebook and/or Twitter
* follow Nuun on Facebook and/or Twitter
* follow Pacific Health Lab (makers of Accel Gels) on Twitter
* follow Picky Bars on Facebook and/or Twitter

Disclaimer: I was not paid by Nuun, Pacific Health Labs or Picky Bars for this post.  I use their products and really like them!  Sweepstakes is open to US residents only.  One winner will be chosen at random.  Sweepstakes starts on Wednesday May 30, 2012 and ends on Tuesday June 5, 2012 at midnight EST.  The winner will be notified via blog post shortly after and will have one week to claim the prize.

105 thoughts on “my favorite things giveaway ~ nuun, accel and picky bars

  1. Ooh ooh, me please! I try to eat something about an hour and a half before running, but I'm not picky about what if it's a relatively short run. Before long runs it's pretty typical: peanut butter and a banana on bread. After a long run I'll get a chocolate milk and a SALT BAGEL, probably the greatest thing in existence. I'm clearly not the greatest fueler, but it works for me! Depending on how hot it is, I usually carry a handheld water bottle for anything over 5 miles, usually just with water. I have been experimenting with a sample of grape nuun I got though! Unfortunately, grape is not all that tasty. I feel like I'd love some of the other flavors though!

  2. Right now I'm all H20 but as my runs get longer I either do diluted Gatorade or straight G2. I've hear a lot about Nuun tabs though and have another friend (a triathlete) who swears up and down by them. Accel Gels are one of the few gels I can stand mid-long-run (the rest make me gag). So yeah, sign me up for this sweepstakes 🙂

  3. I LOVE Nuun! I started drinking it because I was constantly finding myself dehydrated during runs but couldn't stomach my beloved gatorade. I have yet to try Picky Bars but I would really like to because I also eat a mostly plant based diet.

  4. This is such a great giveaway! I hydrate with Nuun almost all of the time (generally with the Lemon Lime flavor). I use it before, during and after runs as well as at my desk at work, on the bus on the way to work, and on my couch at home. I am excited to try the Nuun All Day! For runs, I usually fuel with cinnamon raisin bagel, english muffin or Vans waffles and almond butter. If I am doing a run over 8 miles, I will eat that as well as PR Bars. They are very hard to come by though so I have been wanting to try Picky Bars because of the WONDERFUL ingredients!

  5. How do I fuel? I am a morning coffee drinker, and water too, of course. If I am running longer than 10 miles I will also have some peanut butter toast. This is a vast improvement for me, as I used to not eat anything (I received a lot of flack for this, but honestly felt best running on an empty stomach). During long runs I use Shot Bloks, again, an improvement from using nothing but water in the past. After I always have something small, soon after.

    I've been interested in trying Nuun, as well as another type of gel, so am excited about this giveaway. I've also heard good things about PIcky bars, so hope I get the chance to try them through your giveaway.

    I've been following your blog since reading your amazing marathon post a few months back- you're such an inspiration! I have only run 1 full, but you make me want to challenge myself again!

  6. I think I might be overly excited but I have always wanted to try all of these items! Okay so here goes, my routine now is ehh just okay. But winning this would sure spice things up 😉 Before my runs I usually have a Luna Cherry Pie bar which is eatable, I'll leave it at that. During a long run I will carry Gatorade and RAISINS. Haha I think you commented once about this bizarre choice, and yes it's weird and yes sometimes not very appetizing. But I swear I saw it on Runner's World. And after I will have water and a chocolate milk. I guess that is about it for me, nothing too crazy…except maybe for those raisins.

  7. For runs more than an hour, I eat at least a banana before running. Maybe oatmeal & a banana. I drink water and use GU while running and always Nuun and Choc. milk after. I don't think my system is perfect—I'd love to try these items too! I'm worst about eating after a run. Too much to do once I get home to the family.

  8. What a great giveaway!! I could not resist entering. To hydrate and fuel before runs, I drink nuun (Grape flavour is my favourite) and eat whole wheat carbs / oatmeal. I never used to eat breakfast either, but i've seen such a difference in how i feel/run when I eat, that I know I'll never go back.

    As for after the run, I drink chocolate milk. I would LOVE to try picky bars though — regardless, I plan on ordering some from their web site.

    Happy running!

  9. LIke you I used to run on an empty stomach, but as I began to build miles I realized that I needed to change that. I usually have a few ritz crackers and peanut butter and water before a training run if I'm running in the morning. I refuel immediately after with breakfast. If I'm racing a half or full marathon I have a bagel loaded with peanut butter:-) Yum! I usually use Gatorade (a more watered down formula than the recommended mix), but have tried Nuun and really love the strawberry-lemonade flavor. And on long runs I usually use GU's (love espresso!) and water. I found that these seem to all work really well for me.

  10. For runs less than 10 miles I don't eat before and will take one gel during. I use Hammer nutrition products usually. For 10+ runs either I eat my regular breakfast (oatmeal) if I have 2-3 hours before I am running. If I am running in the morning and don't have at least 2 hrs to digest, I eat a gel before I leave. During my run I take a handheld with some mixture of gel, Hammer Sustained Energy, Enduralytes –depending on the length of my run.

  11. I just recently drinking NUUN and have already become a huge fan. While I haven't tried it during a run it's my go to after them and the day before long run. Currently I am trying my hardest to figure out per run food. I have an awful time before half marathons and big races that start early in the morning. I know I need to eat but I'm either to nervous to eat or feel like I'm going to throw up and then by miles 10 and up and don't do well. So far I have tried Gu and Shot bloks but I will try anything! Very infomative post!

  12. I, too, used to never eat before long runs. But now I'm a Nuun convert and though I drink it almost every day, I drink as much as I can the days leading up to a long run / race. (Strawberry lemonade is my favorite!) The morning of a race / long run, I have a single cup of coffee, a rice cake with lots of peanut butter, and at least half a banana. Throughout my run I drink more Nuun and have a Gu every 7 miles. (I don't love Gu, and am searching for other options.) It's my post-run routine that needs help. I'll often have another banana, more Nuun or water, occasionally a spinach smoothie, and whatever else I can get my hands on at the time.

    Fantastic giveaway!

  13. Before races, I drink a cup of coffee and a cup of water, and eat a banana. Before regular runs, I just try to make sure I have something light in my stomach – I love Thomas's BagelThins! As far as hydrating, I just wrote a blogpost about this yesterday 🙂 it's hard! But I mostly just drink water. I have been meaning to try nuun! This would be the perfect way.

  14. I love a big class of chocolate milk after a run to refuel. I've also been known to run to the corner store for a post run ice pop!

  15. Usually for short runs I just take water…last year during marathon training I did some experimenting with Nuun in my water and also taking some gels during the run. Replenishing post-run, however…I definitely need some work on that! I'd love to try the Picky Bars!!

  16. I'm still in limbo trying to figure out what works for me. My tummy is tricky during and post running. I know I need to eat something afterwards but it's the last thing I want to do. I would love to try the Accel Gel and the Picky Bars.

  17. Awesome giveaway!! If I run more than 12 miles, I eat and have a glass of water about 30 minutes before I run. Less than that, I usually head out the door. Lately, because of the heat, I’ve been drinking a CLICK shake when I get back for the protein and the calories so I don’t get sick. I love rehydrating with Nuun though!!

  18. Would love to win but probably won't since I don't have a FB or Twitter account. Too time-consuming for me. I haven't yet figured out the whole fueling/hydrating thing yet. It's one of my biggest struggles to name. I'd love to try all these!

  19. Just figuring out nutrition, but I have a grumpy stomach, so I definitely need to experiment. I try to eat a bit before a morning run, and then have a normal breakfast after. I always run with water. It has become a security thing.

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