Saturday, June 9, 2007

Bloks, Gu, Gel and Beans

I have had virtually no experience with supplemental running fuel, such as Bloks, Gu, Gel and Beans. I know this is something I will want to experiment as my long runs get longer.

I don't even know where to start.

I have run eight half marathons and experimented with Gu only at the Disney Half last January - I have always skipped it in the past. What did I learn? Apple Pie Gu isn't my favorite.

My Questions:

  • What tastes good?

  • When do I eat it (is it even eating?)

  • What else do I need to know?

    MarathonChris said...

    A couple of Phedippedations ago, Steve talked about Marathon Fueling. He has a formula you can use to figure out how many calories you need to fuel while out on those long runs and talks about a few different options. For runs greater than 5 miles, I don't know what I would do without it.

    I use Chocolate Clif Shots. They taste a bit like chocolate frosting and have that kind of consistency. They are made from all natural ingredients and this particular one does not have caffeine (they have some with caffeine as well). I have tried a few of the other flavors but I don't really like them (Apple Pie sounds awful). They have 100 cal in each and a combination of simple and complex carbs. I found through using them that I needed them about once every 4 miles or 45 minutes. Using the formula Steve gave on Phedip to calculate my need I actually got the same answer!

    I can't seem to eat much during a run (on the other hand Susan was eating sandwiches!) but I can do the shots ok. Just make sure you have some water to take with them. So on a typical run, I take enough with me to take one every 4 miles (I needed 6 during the marathon). I also take one 15 min before I start my run to get me going since I usually run before I eat breakfast.

    For a marathon it is vital to keep yourself fueled to avoid hitting the "wall." You are basically replacing about 1/3 the calories you are expending.

    MarathonChris said...

    Oh, and I liked the taste of the Bloks but i had trouble eating them while sometimes i may use them before a race.

    IrishBlue said...

    I am a newbie to this also. I used sports beans when training for the half, but have never tried gu or bloks.

    I have two packs of gu in my pantry. It was on clearance at GNC, so I'm thinking it tastes like crap. ;-) The flavors are plain and espresso, or something equally awful. I've been too afraid to even try the stuff.

    I can say I've also heard you take them every 4 miles. It sounds like Chris agrees.

    As far as the sports beans go, they taste great but it's kind of hard for me to chew and run. I think I'll try the Cliff Shots Chris uses. They sound pretty good.

    petra duguid said...

    One of the things I realised during my last marathon is that I, like Steve Runner, never eat enough during a marathon. Using his formula you really need to be doing as Chris suggests - eating quite a bit! I always find that I can sort of keep up till mile 15 and then I can barely keep anything in. Practise might make more perfect and it's definitely something to play with in training. I have more or less written off all gels as they make me quite nauseous, particularly later on in long runs, but my running store insisted I try their chocolate one which is ironic as I don't like chocolate (which lost me marriage to Kevin but there you go ;). If you find you don't get on with sportsfuel (and many don't) you could try just regular granola bars (better than nothing and I definitely prefer them to PowerBars) or some kind of regular food (sandwiches Susan? That's hilarious but if it works, go for it) as long as you put some calories back in it's better than starving. I also used Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes during Chicago (you just take some with you and pop them down with water / sportsdrink) and I'm convinced they kept me going beyond the point where I could no longer stomach any food. Oh the possibilities!

    Cory said...

    Maddy, I have used both GU and the Cliff Bloks. I prefer the bloks because they are easier for me consume and breathe at the same time. The GU stuff clogs up my mouth and makes it hard to breathe. I will take a blok and chew it into pieces right away and then let it melt away while I run. 3 bloks equal 100 calories. As with all fueling, take with water. I fuel every 30 minutes even though when I run all hunger goes away so I force myself to eat. I have also found that a banana about 1 hours before a run really helps. Bon apetite!

    CewTwo said...

    I use a product called, Carb Boom. I get it at the local bike shop. It is an energy gel. Kind of syrupy, but it goes down quick and cleans the palette with a dash or two of water.

    CewTwo said...

    Oh yeah... Due to the same Phedippidations (#99, I think) I know that I need 234 calories per hour. I do a Carb Boom at 45 minutes and at 1 1/2 hours during a half-marathon run...