>General Running>Talk to me about using alternatives to gels
I like all gels, but lets face it most of them are trashy simple sugars. I found the http://vfuel.com/p/nutrition.html to be the cheapest of the higher quality gels at @ $1.50 per gels. Real ingredients etc.
Other higher end gel are $2-$2.50.
But even with the cheap gels ~ each is Manufactured differently, uses different ingredients and taste / consistency is different.
Just my 2 cents--different brands of gels DO make a difference to some of us, so just b/c GU upsets your stomach does not mean all brands will do the same.
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One more thing to tweak about. Thanks!
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I cannot stand GU so I use Crank e-gels. They are bigger and have more calories, but at the same time they don't make me gag or want to puke. I do suffer from stomach reflux and GUs make it worse sometimes.
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I have stomach issues with gels also. For awhile I could tolerate Hammer gels, until one day I couldn't, luckily it was on a training run. I have been using FRS energy chews lately and so far, so good.
I'll use clif shot bloks where others might use gels. Because of their overpowering sweetness, I didn't try any gels for a few years after first taste test (yes, that bad). Then I thought they might be useful for some longer runs where need to treat water in streams. I made gel from Succeed Clip2 which was ok, but not something I'd use on a regular basis. Most longer runs (multi-hour), I'll use M&Ms or trail mix or clif bars cut in pieces.
The one gel I found last year and actually like, but haven't used it in a race yet (only had 2 in training), is GU Peanut butter. It's not fruity sweet like other commercial gels.
I use GU chomps or Clif Shot Blocks. Basically the same thing. A gelatin that tastes pretty good.
Also not as messy as gels or sickly sweet
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I never ran more than 3 hours so I dont have much experience running longer but I generally use 2 gels for 3 hr long run - one after an hour and another after another hour. I tired GU, powerbar, clif and honey stringer gles. I prefer GU and clif andmy stomach feels fine using any of those A lot of gels have shots of coffee in them. A few even have two shots of coffee. I think coffee makes some people stomach upset and in no time and they have to use the bathroom. If you are using gels like these, you might want to try gels with no shots of coffee and see how you feel.
I also tried power-bar energy blasts. Though my stomach was fine using them, I do not like them as I dint find chewing them as comfortable as having a gel and be good for an hour.
Reports on long runs
I've tried a number of the gels but the only palatable one I've found is Hammer Apple-Cinnamon flavor. I also like raisins as an option --cheap, easy and they definitely taste better!
Personally, for a two hour run I recommend Hammer Endurolytes. Take two at the half-way mark. I tend to sweat a lot so this has worked for me but eliminates the need for having to consume a gel.
I really don't like GU. But I tried Hammer Gel (huckleberry flavor) and LOVED the taste. Granted, it gets old after awhile, but I buy it in a large squeeze bottle and just fill up a 5 oz flask and go. No worry about squeezing out of packets or holding on to sticky, empty packets.
I also recommend Honey Stingers if you are opposed to gels in general. They are DELICIOUS. The only thing I have to caution is to make sure you are hydrated if this is the only thing you will consume. During a marathon last year, I only ate these and was a little dehydrated towards the end, and I could not eat any after mile 18 because they were too sticky to chew and swallow.
I also just tried a Honey Stinger waffle...those are also delicious! Again I would recommend taking that with water, as it can have a drying effect.
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If GU bothers your stomach, just about any solid will, go with all liquid. Any sports drink will do. Maybe thickin it up for more cals.
I just saw an ad in the German runners world selling those toddler squeezable applesauce packets as running fuel...apparently all the rage amongst the German elite distance runners.
chocolate covered raisins, Smarties, M&M's, any candy that can be chewed up and swallowed in a hurry.
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I've actually tried a couple of the squeezable baby food packets for situations where I had a drop bag. They're pretty bulky for the amount of calories. Most that I saw were weird combinations of vegetables or fruits, iirc. I don't think I bothered putting any in the drop bag for race day. They were ok - certainly better than most commercial gels - but didn't provide much benefit over what I was using.
Yup, that sort of thing is my preference. Swedish fish, gumdrops, licorice bites work well for me.
Smarties are in a special category in that they are nearly pure dextrose and thus very tummy friendly. People worry about too-rapid absorption and an insulin crash but in a running environment that is a bonus not a problem.