Monday, March 18, 2013

"Fueling" on the Run

I have been on a mission.  Well, I have been on several, but we are going to discuss one at the moment.  Did you know that your body's blood glucose and muscle carbohydrate reserve (glycogen)-(the preferred fuel for hard-working muscles) become depleted in as little as 60 minutes? Neither did I!  I probably never had a reason to need this information honestly.  I was always involved in sports as a child/teenager, but likely never ran or swam or worked out for more than 1 solid hour that required "refueling".  If the exercise is less than an hour, than water is supposed to be sufficient.

Of course, me having the scientific brain that I do, I feel compelled to make sure that I am exploring every area I can in order to be prepared for my 1st 1/2 marathon.  I wouldn't say that I have felt fatigued on my longer runs, but I figure if science shows this to be a fact, I probably should look into it.  I have googled everything, read articles, consulted other training runners, etc.  So & So prefers gels, This One says beans, Another swears by Swedish Fish (that could be VERY bad for me!  I love those damn things!)  But the best method so far has been the taste test.  This is what I have found.

Advocare Rehydrate Gels in Lemon - these are very lemon and the consistency of liquidy Jell-O. 
Pros: DOES NOT smell like Lemon Pledge.  I have an issue with edible lemon products that do.  Easy to open.  Semi-quenches a thirst as well as fueling. 
Cons: Seemed to make me burp.  Oh so attractive on the trail LOL

Verdict: Need further testing now that I have tried out other products.  This was the first I used since I am a distributor, I wanted to support our product line.   I didn't have an app to check splits at the time after fueling.
Sports Beans by Jelly Belly - just like a jelly bean.
Pros: Easy to open, in resealable package. 
Cons: Too tart for my liking, making me wish I had water.  A little too much like candy for me.
Verdict: I just didn't love them. The offer other flavors, but some of these reminded me of the original Gatorade gum. I desperately needed a drink to wash them down. I probably won't try again.
Clif Shot Gels - in Razz flavor, similar to Advocare gel, but thicker.
Pros: Easy to open package.  Semi-quenches thirst with consistency.
Cons: As far as gels go, this was a little thicker than the Advocare brand.  A little less effective in the thirst quenching department.  Also caused belching.  What do they put in these gels?!
Verdict: I just didn't love this either - flavor or consistency.  It took me nearly 15 minutes to consume it all.  I know because my running app gives me an update every 5 minutes.  I won't use again even though another flavor might be easier.
Clif Shot Bloks - in Strawberry; solid Jell-Oish blocks that can dissolve in mouth or be chewed.
Pros: One blok is easily consumed at a time. 
Cons: Not an easy to open package.  I recommend opening and putting desired amount in a baggie for easier access. 
Verdict: I can't accurately explain the consistency of this product.  It isn't as flexible as Jell-O or as thin, but not as solid as a fruit snack either.  It takes a little getting used to.  First try, I chewed more than dissolved.  The second, I allowed it dissolve more than chew.  And I swear my splits were faster immediately following a Blok.  I will continue to try them for other flavors while weeding through other options.  Can't hurt, right?
Sidebar on Bloks - I had these in the car while out with the kids the other day, and thought, wonder what they really do.  It is so hard to tell for me, in the midst of the run.  The adrenaline is already pumping, I can't tell if a "fuel" source changes the course or not.  Well, I took 1 Blok at around 12Noon.  Last night, I decided to trouble shoot our wireless network - at 10:30pm and was still raring to go at 1am.  Not saying it was the Blok, but let's just say, this girl is not typically coherent at that hour if still awake!  I think I need to try the Rehydrate like this too :)


  1. I havent tried all of the products you mention, but I have tried the gels and the shot blocks and prefer the blocks- ESP while running/biking- its easy to pop one in and eat as you go... thanks for the write up on all these!

  2. I agree about the clif shot bloks. How can they be so darn hard to open!!! I use the margarita ones because they are high in sodium and I sweat so much I hope it will help me keep some of the water in me. My "go to" is the Gu chocolate. Outrage gels. Just because I feel like I deserve a liquified brownie if I'm running for more than an hour!



Thanks for leaving a comment! Look forward to more :) ~ Susan