By Jared Eborn (From our March 2012 Issue)
It’s been a not-so-well-kept secret among endurance athletes for a few years.
Utah-based First Endurance’s PreRace powder has helped runners, cyclists and triathletes find that extra focus, extra alertness and, well, that extra buzz that helps give them a competitive boost at the start line and throughout the race.
Loaded with caffeine and other performance boosting ingredients, PreRace has found its way into the water bottles of athletes of all abilities. It is among the favorite pre-competition supplements on the market.
And yet, the folks at First Endurance knew it wasn’t perfect. Is popular as PreRace was, there was a fair amount of feedback from customers about what they didn’t especially like about the product.
As a result, First Endurance took its powdered powerkeg back to the lab and has rolled out the good stuff in capsule form.
“The biggest reason is that we got quite a bit of feedback from customers and sponsored athletes who wanted us to offer PreRace in capsules,” First Endurance vice president Mike Fogarty said. “They told us that, while they love the formula, they felt like the powder delivery system limited their ability to use the product in some situations.”
Whether it was the occasional mess of scooping the powder into a bottle or the bitter taste of the raw materials, PreRace came with a few drawbacks and the new capsules are designed to reduce serving size confusion while also coming in handy during those extremely long events such as Ironman distance triathlons or LOTOJA where multiple doses pulled out of jersey pockets come in extra handy.
“Capsules are a lot more convenient, easier to take, easier to carry and take and don't require any planning or preparation (mixing beforehand, etc…), like using the powder does,” Fogarty said. “We also got feedback that some people were struggling with the taste of the powder. Having a capsule option is an easy solution for this.”
PreRace Caps still come with the 100 mg caffeine punch per serving dosage. Compare that to the 80 mg serving you get from a can of Red Bull or the 100 mg from the average trip to Starbucks and it’s no secret why athletes have had PreRace in their cabinets for years. You’d need nearly a three cans of Coca Cola to get the same buzz as PreRace provides. Throw in the 1,000 mg shot of Taurine, a 200 mg helping of Quercetin and 500 mg of bonded Citruline Malate and you’ll be ready to race.
This differs from the powdered PreRace not insignificantly. The powdered form packs 3,000 mg of Taurine, 1,000 mg Citruline Malate, 350 mg Quercetin and a 570 mg blend of the neuro stimulant proprietary blend (Caffeine, DiMethyl Amino Ethanol, Metabromine and Catechin) so any athlete using PreRace should carefully ease their way into use to determine personal tolerance.
Citruline Malate is, perhaps, one of the key ingredients that makes PreRace so effective. Studies, with resources provided on the First Endurance website, show the additive improves oxygen consumption, blood flow and increased exercise to exhaustion times.
Levi Leipheimer, a threat to land on virtually every stage-race podium in the world, is a fan of PreRace.
“I started using PreRace in the Tour de France…and take it in time trials,” Leipheimer said on FirstEndurance.com. “I don’t drink coffee so when I take PreRace, I really feel it, it’s a huge boost. I find even half a scoop is enough for me.”
Sponsors of the Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek, Bissell Pro Cycling and Specialized-Lululemon professional teams as well as the Pearl Izumi Ultra Running Team, First Endurance takes every precaution to ensure its products fit into UCI, WADA and USADA regulations.
First Endurance recommends taking three capsules 30-45 minutes before racing and adding “1-3 capsules for each two hours of exercise as tolerated and needed.”
Providing a chance to more accurately self-regulate servings was important to First Endurance.
“The final reason is that we also received feedback that some people weren't taking a full scoop of the powder because they felt it was too intense and too powerful,” Fogarty said. “The capsule option gives these people flexibility in their personal dosage preferences.”
Starting with athletes already familiar with PreRace, First Endurance tried out the capsules to see how performance was affected. The ability to accurately limit doses proved to be a big hit with athletes who carefully dial in their training and competitive diet strategies.
“We tested the capsule prototypes with sponsored athletes and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. After the sponsored athletes had the prototypes of the capsules, it was just a matter of time before other people found out we had a capsule prototype and asked us to make it available to them, too,” Fogarty said. “Because of the number of people that contacted us about the capsules, we decided to make it available on our web site to see just how popular they are.”
The response has been overwhelming.
“We still have a ton of athletes that want to use the powder so we plan on offering PreRace in a powder and also in a capsule form,” Fogarty said. “The powder is great for certain circumstances and the capsule is great for other situations.”
The introduction of the PreRace capsules has been such a success, First Endurance further modified the product and is now introducing PreRace Sustained Release capsules which are “designed to deliver a steady level of energy and mental acuity over an extended period of time,” First Endurance says. “Athletes benefit with an immediate and delayed release effect that reduces stomach irritability in the gut and extends the benefits up to five hours.”