Ask the Coaches: Picking The Right Race, Skratch Labs and More

September 6, 2012

Endurance Planet is happy to bring you a new show to the lineup featuring Lucho, where he and Tawnee will be answering your training/racing questions on triathlon, swimming, cycling, and/or running – for all distances and skill levels! The brand-new “Ask the Coaches” show will be in addition to “Ask The Ultrarunner” (ATU will remain as is.) On today’s show we answer your questions on enhancing Olympic triathlon training with open swim, bike, and run events; finding your “best” race distance and the role of genetics; shifting from sprint tris to half-marys; workouts to get faster on the run; swimming as cross-training for a runner; tips for a triathlon first-timer; ultras vs. Ironmans; taking on double marathon challenge; muscle imbalance issues; and insight on sports drinks — osmolality, ingredients, diluting drinks, and specifically what Skratch Labs Drink Mix offers — with insight from Dr. Allen Lim himself (see below).

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Insight from Allen Lim on hydration, calorie intake and Skratch Labs Drink Mix:

– “Most athletes dilute their sports drink because they are too sweet with a flavor that can often overwhelm. While diluting a sports drink can easily solve issues with flavor and excessive sugar creating an osmolality that is likely more ideal, diluting most sports drinks also dilutes the electrolyte concentration. In particular, diluting sports drinks can significantly reduce the amount of sodium an athlete gets. Since most sports drinks are already low in sodium, diluting your sports drinks and the most important component of that sports drink – the sodium – creates a situation that is not much different than drinking water alone. During intense exercise at high sweat rates that result in a significant sodium loss, drinking a dilute sports drink or plain water can significantly dilute the sodium concentration in the body and lead to hyponatremia. This in turn can lead to a host of problems ranging from excessive urination and even more dehydration, a significant drop in performance, and neurological issues ranging from nausea to seizure to incontinence and in very rare situations death.

– “Skratch was designed to have significantly less sugar and a very light flavor profile created by using real freeze dried whole fruit. At the same time, Skratch contains significantly more sodium and a complete profile of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, calcium) that match what’s lost in sweat. In addition, Skratch does not contain any excessive ingredients that aren’t needed to properly hydrate. That means no coloring agents, flavoring agents, emulsifiers, or preservatives. Skratch is considered a food product by the FDA not a supplement. All of this leads to a drink with an osmolality that is significantly lower than any sports drink at the low end of blood osmolality (280 mOsm /kg water) to maximize intestinal absorption through both passive (osmosis) and active (sodium-glucose co-transport) pathways.
– “There is no need to dilute Skratch as the sodium is extremely important. More importantly, using a higher concentration is also not recommended as this will adversely affect the osmolality of the mix. Ultimately, during prolonged exercise at high sweat rates, because drinking water alone may result in hyponatremia, there is almost no situation where drinking water alone is better than drinking Skratch unless that water is paired with a very salty food.
– “To get more calories, I recommend just eating real food. A potato, rice cakes, muffin top – anything soft and delicious that has a minimal number of ingredients and that is very simple. When calories are eaten, the process of mastication and digestion in the stomach paces the delivery of calories into the small intestine which  can steadily deliver nutrients into the body via active transport. When calories are in a semi-solid or liquid form and bypasses normal digestion, there is such a huge and immediate influx of calories that the osmotic pressure created at the small intestine causes fluid from inside the body to be pulled into the intestine causing bloating, the potential for diarrhea, and a host of gastrointestinal problems, the least of which is the inhibition of fluid and calorie absorption.”
For more info from Allen see:


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