Thursday, November 23, 2017

Drip Drop Sport

When it comes to choosing a sports drink to prepare you for, and sustain you through, a race or hard training session there’s certainly no shortage of choice! The chances are that, like me, you’ve tried many different offerings from a wide variety of producers.

A new entrant to the UK market is Drip Drop Sport (also available in the US as Drip Drop) which claims to be somewhat different to other solutions.  The powder was originally developed as an ‘Oral Rehydration System’ for famine-ravaged countries but has recently made the jump across to the endurance sports market.

Why is Drip Drop Sport different?
According to the UK distributors, DDS offers less calories and twice the electrolytes compared against similar products from other manufacturers.  Quite why the ‘less calories’ is good for endurance athletes I’m not sure (the distributors say the absence of too much sugar in the drink actually helps the body absorb electrolytes more efficiently), but twice the electrolytes is bound to capture the attention of some.Drip Drop Sport

Of potentially more interest, however, is DDS’ claim that it contains ‘citrate’ which is a lactate buffer and helps delay the onset of muscular cramps and fatigue.

Dosage, taste etc.

Although some might bemoan unnecessary packaging, I quite like the fact that the DDS comes in pre-packaged single-dose sachets.  This makes it easy to get the right dose every time (I’m not sure about you, but I have always tended to be a little haphazard when dispensing powder from big tubs or bottles!) and you simply mix one sachet with 500ml of water.

DDS can be consumed before, during and after exercise.

In terms of taste, DDS has a citrus flavour that is certainly no worse than any other electrolyte drink I’ve drink (and, indeed, is better than many). The taste is quite sharp, which I actually prefer versus some of the overly sweet or bland flavours delivered by other products.

Testing
For this gear review I basically did four tests; a précis of each is below:

Test #1 – 5km parkrun – talking with the UK distributors, they advised trying one sachet of DDS in advance of the run. So I made up the drink on waking and sipped this through to about 25 minutes before race start (I sometimes have a gel before a 5km PB attempt, but elected to just go with DDS this time).  Result: a new parkrun 5km PB.

Test #2 – Aquathlon – as above, I used one sachet as a pre-race drink on the drive up to the race venue.  Again, like Test #1 it was a very short race (400m swim, 5km run) with no need for mid-race hydration.  Result: 5th place overall and new 400m swim PB.

Test #3 – 60km bike ride – this time, I just stuck a sachet of DDS in my usual bike water bottle and used this during the ride (no pre-loading).  Nothing special to report, the bike ride (steady, no TT efforts, but some hills) went fine and I didn’t honestly feel any different to how I might normally feel.

Test #4 – half marathon – after the ‘success’ of tests 1 and 2, I elected to use DDS as my pre-race drink for the Wonkingham half marathon. I used a single-sachet dose as per earlier tests and starting sipping this from around 7am till 9.30am (race start at 10am). During the race I have to say I felt good, never feeling dehydrated or getting any muscle cramps (OK, let’s be honest, this was a half marathon, not an iron man!).  Result: new half marathon PB.

So, four tests and you’d have to say that three at least were very successful. Now, let’s also be very clear about something else.  I’ve had a fantastic off-season and my running is really coming along – so I EXPECTED to be setting new PBs.  As such, I don’t want to risk over-stating the benefits of Drip Drop Sport.  But what I can say is that I do believe it has provided me with a benefit in my early season races and, as such, I intend to keep using it.

Given the fact we are still very early in the year, factors like dehydration are almost certainly going to become more important in longer races during the summer months.  It will be interesting to see whether DDS offers a more significant benefit when heat and race duration lead to greater fluid loss.

But for now, on the limited testing I have been able to do I have to say I am cautiously impressed.

You can learn more about Drip Drop Sport here: http://www.dripdropsport.co.uk/index.html and sample 4-sachet packs can be purchased for under £6. Well worth experimenting.