Honey Stinger, Power Gels, and GU, Oh my!!!!

I hope you are all having a great Labor Day weekend!!!! This has been a super busy but great week for me. I wanted to chat for a bit about the age-old topic of fueling! Before we get into that though I thought I would give you a week re-cap :). I changed my running schedule up a little this week….just because of some things we had planned and to  hopefully help my 1/2 coming up next week.

On Tuesday we went on a family fun trip to Dutch Wonderland (an amusement park) with the families at our church. It was a blast! There were 40 of us all together and the kids all had such a great time!!!

Here is about 1/2 of our group:

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Swings with Courtney

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Crazy water log ride! My kids like to be in the front 🙂

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Monday I decided to do a 9 progression run which meant Tuesday I wanted nothing to do with speed work. For my speed work this week I wanted to do more of a tempo instead of repeats just to help prepare for my 1/2  :). Typically in a week I only do 2 stress workouts; 1 speed day and the long run. This week I did 3. The progression run, the tempo and the long run. Next week my plan is to cut the miles back a bit and take it easy.

Monday: 9 mile progression: 8:08, 7:59, 7:54, 7:48, 7:36, 7:33, 7:42 (oops), 7:24, 7:07

Tuesday: early 6.5 miles before our trip to Dutch Wonderland

Wed: 8 miles 8:03

Thurs: Tempo run, 6 miles at 6:48 pace with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

Friday: 8.25 miles at 8:09 pace

Sat: 12 miles at 7:34 pace.

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One thing I have been working on in almost all my runs is making my last mile my fastest or close and I am hoping this will help me at the end of my races!

Now onto the age-old question: How do you fuel during races?

This is something I definitely do not have down and I am always looking to find out what works for other people! One thing I have learned is that there is no right answer to how to fuel. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. There are also SO many options from chews to gels to food. In my opinion once you have found something that works well for you, stick with it! I have tried several different things and while I have found something that is ok for me, I am not set on anything just yet.I have run 3 1/2 marathons and have not used fuel for any of them, but am thinking a gel might help me finish better. For the marathon I have tried many things, but for my PR marathon I got almost 3 gels down. The last one was tough :).

I have used and like the honey stinger chews, but I have a hard time-consuming enough of them. I like the idea of just swallowing a gel and being done with it! I also really like to chew gum (actually, I HAVE to chew gum) when I run and this makes that more challenging.

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I have tried a whole slew of gels and barely like just a few. I can handle the Salted Caramel, Chocolate PB and Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie….and I don’t really like any of them…but I can make it work.

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I have a hard time just getting them down fast without wanting to gag (sorry if that is too much info). I have had some people say just take them small bits at a time but that just seems like a pain to be carrying an open gel and trying to make that work. If you do that let me know how and what you think about it!

My hardest and worst marathon I brought 3 gels and after 1/2 of one I felt like I just could not handle anymore, so I ran the rest of the marathon without anything…SO hard and I totally hit the wall.

One of the best ways to find out what fuel will work for you is to just try different kinds on your long run. This really is the only way to find out what works for you. The only reason I hate this is because I don’t want to ruin a long run with the wrong fuel, but it really is the only way to know.

There is also the option of candy…which I have done, but am not thrilled with.

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I am going to be looking into some ways to fuel with food. My husband is particularly interested in this and I am planning to try some recipes from this book:

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So the next question then is how many and how often?

Most things you read will tell you to take one gel every 45 minutes to an hour. Again, it is going to be by trial and error as to what will work specifically for you. It is a good idea to look at a race map to and know where the water stations are and plan accordingly! Some runners even do a gel or part of a gel before the race starts…I will admit, I have never done this.

So, my question for you is how do you fuel for races? What is your favorite product?…I am dying to know!!!!!

Do you use fuel for 1/2 marathons?

Comments

  1. says

    I use Generation UCAN exclusively. I’ll use 2 packets in about 12 ounces of water 30-45 minutes before the race and nothing but water during the race. For a full marathon, I use 2 packets before and then I make a UCAN feel that I put in disposable gel flasks and take at miles 14 and 20-ish. And then water with Nuun every 10-15 minutes throughout. Let me know if you want more info on Gen UCAN!

  2. Jen says

    Hi Lani! I am very interested in learning more about Generation UCAN!!! I have heard about it but never tried it! Do you just use the sports drink mix? Where do you buy Generation UCAN? How do you make the fuel? It sounds like something I would be interested in trying :). Thanks!

  3. says

    I typically don’t like to run holding anything in my hands but with that said, the best results I have had for fuel is 2 gel mixed into a small water bottle. I have a Nathan water carrying belt with 3 bottles that are bigger than gel flasks and hold about 3/4 -1 cup of water. The gels mix nicely with the water then I sip about every 2 miles during a half. I dont like wearing the water belt much as it bothers my stomach but using 1 bottle works well during a cooler run as I have Capri tights with a side pocket on the thigh the bottle just slips into. Running in the summer, I just carry the gel in my shorts and try to ingest 1/2 before a water station or i carry a bar tucked into my pocket. I don’t really know the perfect solution either. It is nice to hear what works for others.

    • Jen says

      I LOVE hearing about what other people do and it also gives me ideas to try!!!! I have never heard of mixing gels with water..interesting! I HATE having things wrapped around my stomach too!

      • says

        Saucony has some shorts, bullet shorts I think that have cargo like pockets on both sides. This is how I carry my bottle w the water and gel. I tried 1 gel but it taste too weak but 2 gels (my favourite are the hammer gels- huckleberry flavour) work better in the small Nathan tote I use. I like that the gels aren’t so concentrated and the hammer gels have less sugar so don’t upset my stomach the way other gels do. I have also used the hammer bars while running. They are soft and easy to chew. I just take a little bite and it hasn’t caused problems yet.

  4. Brynne says

    In a marathon I take 1 Powershot (a bit less thick than Gu) 40 min before the race, then 1 Powershot every 4 miles or so and take a total of 5 shots during the race (taking my last one around 21-22mi). In my first marathon I used Clif Shot Blocks but I realized it was taking so much time and energy to chew those darn things that I would get out of breath totally lose my momentum. So now the shots are my go-to fuel. Then I don’t carry water, I’ll just take a shot of goop when I see an aid station coming up so that I can down some water right after.
    During halves I just take one shot at mile 5 or 6 with water from an aid station and that’s it.
    I have a pretty tough stomach so this training season I’d like to try taking in some real food mid-race so I don’t just have a big glob of sticky goop in my stomach. And also my stomach often starts rumbling from hunger when I’m far into a run – sometimes a ton of shots just aren’t enough! We’ll see if the real food thing works.

  5. says

    I am really thinking about trying some real food…I have a totally weak stomach, but the gels is just not working for me. I took 1 gel before my half today and it did not sit well at all! It was probably the heat too but I still. I agree with you on the chews…seems like a pain to be eating them 1/2 the time.

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