As you all have heard, I am running my first half marathon on Feb. 15 (wow…that is so soon). When I first started my training, I was really unsure about using gels and if they’d work for me in the race. So, I started trying a bunch of stuff out. I typically have a very weak stomach. I get sick from really sugary things like soda and candy, which was one reason I was so hesitant about the gels. During my long runs, I would try something new and see how I liked it. I probably shouldn’t have tried so much stuff, but you know, new things are fun. But, I have settled on a winner, and I’ll let you know how it does in the race in my recap. For now, I’m going to go ahead and tell you what I’ve learned, what I liked and what I didn’t about each product.
Citrus Flavored Cliff Shot Blocks: I really like gummy bears, so I figured that I’d really like gummy blocks. I picked them up at my local running store, and they were a little on the pricey side. I assumed I could use the pack for two uses, so that didn’t bother me too much. I took them on a 7 mile trail run, and honestly, I wasn’t too into them. I took them at around mile 3 to try them out, but I didn’t feel any more energized. They were really just OK. The chewy-ness was a little difficult while I was on the run, and I noticed that they really stuck to my teeth. Needless to say, they were not my favs. The citrus taste was pretty good though, even if I wasn’t a fan of the consistency. I think they are good for backpackers or long hikes, but I didn’t like them for my runs.
Rating (1-5): 3
Citrus Flavored Clif Shot Gel: As I was saying before, I liked the citrus taste of the Clif Blocks, so I figured I’d like the taste of the citrus Clif Gels. I was also looking for something with caffeine, since I do get a really big boost from coffee before my runs. I took this gel on an 8 mile trail run and I definitely felt the boost after eating it. However, I was not really a big fan of the taste. It was really overly sweet and tasted almost like icing, which made me gag a little while I ran. I drank a ton of water with it (after a running partner warned me that I could get stomach cramps with the gels if I don’t drink enough water), but really, I needed the water to wash out the taste. I thought the gel worked great and did exactly what it was supposed to do. I just needed something a little less sweet.
Rating (1-5): 4
Albanese Gummi Bears: I really do like gummy bears a lot. So much so that my husband brought me to a gummy bear factory for my birthday. My roommate took these with her when running the Dawn of the Dunes Marathon (this is her race recap for that) and they seemed to work. I decided to try them out. I took them on a 7 mile run. I figured they would be fine since I sometimes eat a hand full of them before I leave for a run. The results were not too good. These really upset my stomach a lot and kinda derailed my run a little. They are also rather big and bulky. They taste really really good though!!
Rating (1-5): 2
Gu Salted Watermelon Gel: You know, I never would have thought to pair salt and watermelon, but the good people at GU seriously know where it’s at. This flavor rocked. When I’m on a long run, I generally feel like I need some salt and I crave it. Because of this, the sugary flavors tend to taste a little over-the-top to me. However, I doubt I would actually want a gu that tasted super salty. This one had the perfect amount of both. I took it on a 9 mile run and had it at the half way point with some water. I certainly felt the effects of the carbs on my way back home and I was less hungry than usual when I got there (I don’t know about you, but I get crazy hungry on long runs). I was pretty happy with this flavor and have decided to stick with this for my race.
Rating (1-5): 5
So I have settled on a winner. I’ll be bringing a pack of salted watermelon for my race on Feb. 15. Before the race I’ll also be eating a luna bar, which are my go to energy bar.
What are your go to race foods? Have you tried this awesome salted watermelon?