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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Bothma


Updated: Apr 10, 2022

While training for a marathon, you need a lot of fuel to power you through all the long and hard miles on the road. If you want to perform at a high level you have to fuel with good food, and quality products, that offer the nutrients needed to recover from the hard training and optimize your performance in workouts, long runs and ultimately on the big day when the race arrives.

I am looking forward to going into 2022 with a new nutrition sponsor and feel ecstatic to announce my partnership with PowerBar.

In September 2021, I was diagnosed with Central Diabetes Insipidus, an illness where the body does not secrete sufficient amounts of ADH to regulate the fluid and water retention in the body. This illness is in no way related to Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus and is a direct result of my Hypopituitarism. Before starting treatment I was always dehydrated since it was almost impossible to replace the fluids and electrolytes at the rate my body was losing them. Since I have started treatment and we have figured out the correct dosage in November of last year I have seen significant improvements in my health, life quality, and athletic performance. However, managing this illness takes a lot of work and I constantly have to make sure my electrolyte balance is correct. The new medication may help reduce the number of fluids I am losing, but it also pulls crucial electrolytes, such as sodium, out of my blood. Therefore, swapping most of my water or fluid intake with electrolytes has been a key part of figuring out this balance. I experimented with a few different products to see what works best and which flavours I like most, but I can now say I have found one that not only helps me better manage this chronic condition but also tastes better and more natural compared to similar products. It has allowed me to stay hydrated during training and to maintain a better electrolyte balance over the past two months. I know it will be a key part of my battle against Diabetes Insipidus.

PowerBar does not only offer a product that tastes great - it is also made of high-quality ingredients and is clean for athletes to use (safe sport approved), something which is paramount to me as an elite athlete. They also offer a large variety of products and flavours to choose from, meaning you will most likely find something to suit your individual taste and dietary needs.

I have been using their products during training over the last few months and have been loving them so far! During my first marathon in 2019, at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, I really learned the hard way how important it is to fuel during a marathon. That is, if you want to achieve your full potential on the day. I hit the dreaded marathon wall at 32km (or 20 miles) into the race after missing my first two gels. It was a hard lesson, but afterwards I started practising more during training by fuelling during my long runs, long marathon workouts, and race-pace tempo runs. I have experimented with many different products up to now, but I can honestly testify that PowerBar is the best.

I have been struggling with my digestive system since my childhood. At the age of 17, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is an autoimmune condition where the body reacts adversely when gluten is digested. As a result, I have suffered from many gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as cramping, nausea, bloatedness, and diarrhoea or constipation. Distance running also comes with its fair share of GI problems, due to the constant jumping movement. When you exercise the body prioritizes blood flow to the muscles over the GI tract and as the distance, or time on feet, increases it will also become harder for the body to digest and absorb fluids and nutrients. Factors such as warm weather or humidity, as well as the intensity at which you are running, may further prevent the body from absorbing the products you ingest to keep up with the demands of endurance exercise.

The body will prefer carbohydrates, especially as the intensity of the exercise increases. However, taking in many concentrated forms of sugar can lead to GI adversities in some people. Everyone is different and it is important to experiment in training to figure out a race day fueling strategy that works for you.

You have to train your gut to tolerate fuel during training, just like you train your legs to cover the distance and run at a certain pace. You can read more on PowerBar's website and see their recommendations on how to use their products to fuel optimally, both for training and on race day: NUTRITION GUIDE FOR RUNNING

Personally, I find that water-based hydrogels work better than traditional gels. I also use an electrolyte drink instead of plain water as my body absorbs it better and it prevents that uncomfortable water-belly feeling of fluid sloshing around in your stomach. It might also save you from an unwanted pit-stop mid-race. PowerBar offers both these options and perform much better than anything else I have tried. I encourage you to give their products a go if you are also someone who has a sensitive stomach or if you struggle to take in fluids and fuel while running.

So far a couple of my favourite products are:

LONG RUNS: I like their HYDROGEL, orange flavour, on long runs since its liquid texture is easy to get down and it doesn't cause any of the GI problems such as nausea, cramping or bloating that I have experienced while using other gels. I take it alongside the 5 ELECTROLYTE TABLET in the grapefruit flavour with added electrolytes.

The other option I find works great for long runs is their ISOACTIVE carb-electrolyte drink mix or the ISOMAX, which has some added caffeine. They provide both hydration and carbohydrates, as well as the essential electrolytes, all in one bottle!

ELECTROLYTES: My favourite two so far is definitely the grapefruit with caffeine or the mango-passionfruit without caffeine.

GELS: The Orange HYDROGEL as I mentioned for the long runs. They also offer a more natural, fruit based SMOOTHIEGEL, which I love taking before a run if I need something simple and easily digestible.

BARS: I really enjoyed their REAL 5 BAR, which is only made out of 5 simple ingredients!

I am excited to try out their whole range and will continue to share my recommendations on social and on my blog. You can get a 15% discount on all their products online if you head over to PowerBarSA and use my code ANNIEPB15 at check-out.

My mantra when it comes to nutrition is Fuel for the Work Required. Powerbar makes it easier, more convenient and sustainable to do this while training hard. I am thankful to have them as part of my team for this new year, which will be filled with many miles, gigantic goals and daring dreams!

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