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Energy gels: an update January 24, 2007

Posted by RegiVizz in Running.
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beans.jpgAfter hemming and hawing a bit, the decision was made to purchase a variety of energy supplements to try out.  As the marathon date is nearing, I decided that it would be best to try some of these energy gels, sooner rather than later.   Yesterday’s run, a 6 miler, seemed the perfect opportunity to put one to the test.  Long enough of a run to notice a difference in performance, yet not a “long” run that would be ruined in case something went terribly wrong.  Foreshadowing?  Maybe.

First on the list to try: Jelly Belly Sports Beans.  Flavor: Orange.  The directions on the packet suggest eating them thirty minutes pre-workout.  “Drink plenty of water” when taking them. 

No problem.

Taste: Not really like a Jelly Belly in texture, more like an orange gumdrop. 

Now here’s the nitty gritty.  First off, let me say, I’m not a typical “girly-girl”.  I’m not exceedingly prim and proper, but neither am I one of those in-your-face belchers and farters.  In fact, just typing that made me shiver in distaste.  Nevertheless, I tend to say it like it is.  That will serve as your warning.  Read no further if you are one of those people who think that ladies don’t come equipped with a digestive tract.

Did I say nitty gritty?  Well I’d better get down to the nitty gritty then.  Mile 3.  Doing an “out-and-back” means 3 more miles to get back to my car.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Imagine this: a lakeside port-a-potty, a parking lot empty except one middle-aged gentleman who could use a good shave and his 1980’s model good-ole-boy truck parked right beside said port-a-potty.  Almost dark.  Nobody else in sight.  Let’s just say, that as someone who seldom uses public facilities, things were bad enough for me to stop and utilize this less-than-ideal toilet situation.  

“Is anyone in there?” I asked.

“It’s all yours hon'” he replied.

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Comments»

1. Dave Fravel - January 24, 2007

Congratulations, Regina!!!

You can now proclaim that you are officially training for a marathon. No marathon training program would be complete without @ least one panicked search for a port-a-potty. (mine happened on my last 20-mile training run – cliff bloks were the culprit)

I’ll suggest retiring the sports beans and giving GU a try.

– Dave

2. Eric - January 24, 2007

And to think I almost bought some of these.

I cringe everytime I go out with a somewhat quesy stomach, wondering if the bathrooms will be locked up or something like that, although I haven’t had to yet…I’m sure my time is due soon.

3. zappoman - January 24, 2007

I once heard a great podcast on this very topic… I think it was a year or so ago on zentriathlete.com… anyway, the thesis was, “you know you’re an endurance athlete when… mother nature calls in the middle of your workout, and you show her who’s boss by finding a little piece of nature to leave your door prize on”…

Hey, don’t look at me…. RegiVizz started in with the potty talk! 😉

On a more serious note, I think it’s a good idea to try out lots of different fuel choices. Because I think most of us will react this way to at least one of those fuel types out there, and you don’t want to find out that you picked the wrong one to experiment with on race day.

Which reminds me… *never* experiment on race day!

My next long training run, I want to try out taking dehydrated banana chips. I figure that with the “binding” properties of bananas, these may be a good emergency stomach settling agent. Just a thought.

4. RegiVizz - January 24, 2007

Dave: I’ll stay away from those too!

Eric: You just wait!

Zappoman: Let me know how the banana chips work out.

I have some Power Bar Gel to try on my next long run so I’ll probably give a “review” of those later!

5. Eric - January 24, 2007

I have Clif Shot Gels, ones with caffeine and ones that are mango…they seem to be pretty neutral right now, although they don’t taste very good. My stomach normally is pretty solid unless I eat too soon before running.

6. Keith Granger - January 24, 2007

There’s definitely something weird going on with those sport beans. I was never courageous enough to try eating a whole package at once, but I did try carrying them in my pocket and popping one every couple of miles on one of my long runs. I didn’t have any stomach problems with this method, but the beans that were loose in my pocket actually burned a hole through my microfiber running pants. Good thing you found a port-a-potty, they might have found their own way out!

I’ve tried lots of different gels and have had varying results with stomach problems. I have found that the products with caffeine tend to bother my stomach more than those without. It doesn’t always take affect during the run, but I feel sick through the rest of the day. I’ve had the best luck with Crank Sports E-gel (I really like the mountain rush flavor). The one caveat with this product is that it seems to take more water with it as it goes into your system – I actually prefer to pre-mix these with water to make sure that I stay adequately hydrated. This isn’t always convenient when you’re running.

I have two friends that are triathletes and they have recommended hammer gel, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

Good luck!

7. zappoman - January 24, 2007

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth… I got my stress fracture running Seattle Marathon… and what was I using? Yep… Jelly Belly Sports Beans!

I blame the beans for the stress fracture. Maybe I was supposed to eat them, not put them in my shoes? 😉

8. Damon - January 25, 2007

see what happens when you eat beans reg? and here I thought that EVERYBODY already knew that. sheesh.

9. lifeoutside - February 6, 2007

Hmmmm that was funny… soo… how were the jelly beans and also how was OKC Marathon?

10. RegiVizz - February 7, 2007

Lifeoutside: The beans tasted great, but I’ll not be trying them again!
The marathon is April 29th. Thanks for the comments!


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