Hydration 101: Fuel Product Comparison

Hydration Products & Powders

While we tend to focus on hydration products specifically in the summer months, it’s important to keep an eye on your hydration all year round, especially if you’re training for a long distance race or doing intense workouts on a regular basis. So let’s talk about two of our favorite hydration products: Nuun vs Skratch!



Nuun was created as an alternative to the high-sugar sports drinks. This company, founded in 2004, has found a way to get you effective replacement of fluid and electrolytes without loading you up on sugar. To do this, nuun uses a plant-based sweetener (monk fruit and a touch of stevia leaf extract), giving you a subtle fruit flavor that is not overwhelmingly sweet.

Each nuun tab contains 4 key electrolytes – sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Drop a tab into your water bottle and wait for it to dissolve, then you’re ready to get your hydration on!

While the hydration benefits are great, the best thing about this product has to be the flavors. We have nuun in flavors like watermelon, tropical fruit, lemon-lime, and strawberry lemonade (my personal favorite), just to name a few. Not only are they great on the run, they make some great mocktails! Nuun comes in a neat little tube that you can just toss in your bag or pocket.

Nuun is available online and in all Marathon Sports locations.


Another brand that eschews the usual sports hydration products in favor of something a little more real. Founder Allen Lim was working as a sport scientist and professional cycling coach a few years ago and began making his own performance nutrition products…from ‘Skratch’:

I also started diluting their sports drinks to lower the sugar concentration while adding back extra salt and electrolytes to replace what was actually being lost in their sweat. Eventually, I started making a “secret drink mix” in my kitchen using a recipe with less sugar, more sodium, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, with a simple and clean taste created by using real fruit.   

Instead of making an “orange” drink, I made a drink with real oranges. Instead of making sweet syrupy bars, I made savory cakes with sushi rice.  And it worked. The athletes stopped complaining about feeling sick, bloated, and nasty from the synthetic gut rot that normally plagued them. Most importantly, with better hydration and better fuel they started feeling and performing better.

Sounds so simple, right? Skratch Hydration Mix comes in powder form that you just mix into your water bottle. The fruit flavors come from real freeze-dried fruit, so you don’t get that fake sweet taste you find in other drink powders.

skratch_3Skratch replaces those key electrolytes and gives you a bit of real cane sugar to help replace glycogen lost during long or intense periods of exercise.

We carry Skratch Labs Hydration Mix in single servings ($1.95) as well as a bag of 20 servings ($19.50). Skratch comes in some pretty unique flavors – apples & cinnamon, matcha & lemons, and hyper mango, to name a few.

Skratch Labs product is available in all Marathon Sports locations.


While these two products have the same end goal – optimal performance hydration – they go about it in different ways.

Nuun’s big plus is that each tab is only 10 calories and has only 1g of sugar. This makes it a more attractive option for all-day sipping compared to Skratch, which has cane sugar as its first ingredient. Calorie-conscious runners or those who get their nutrition from other sources (See our NUTRITION COMPARISON GUIDE) will probably opt for nuun.

Skratch is a great option for intense exercise, as the sugars help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores, allowing you to work out hard for longer. Think of Skratch as a much better for you version of Gatorade – a great choice if you’re training for a long distance race or (for whatever reason) working out for hours at a time.

Both options are significantly better for you than your run-of-the-mill sports drink because they are free from artificial flavors and colors, and both companies are committed to putting a clean product out there. Both nuun and Skratch have a mission and vision we can really get behind – keeping it real, keeping it clean, and promoting a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Don’t forget to keep sipping this summer so you get the most out of every run. And stop by and try out some nuun or Skratch – or both!