At the moment, with less than 8 weeks to go (gulp) I am slowly working my way up the distance ladder towards my longest run, which will be about 21 miles. There are a great many things I could write about at this juncture, such as how much I hate humidity, chafing (related to humidity for me), strength training (horrible, and yet it works), the joys of eating like a Hobbit (second breakfast and elevenses are my favourite additional meals), but I’ll save them for a future post. Today I shall talk about my adventures with on-the-run nutrition.
This has been an aspect of running that I have avoided for quite some time. Ever since I ran my first half marathon, really, where I foolishly tried drinking sports drinks on race day, only to relive them in reverse upon finishing the race (my first half marathon was, for many reasons, simply awful). But, I do know that taking on some form of carbs would be helpful to me during longer runs. And salts, for I am a wimp in warm weather, and quickly feel the effects of sweating out all my salty goodness. So, as the temperatures and humidity have been rising along with my distances (last Sunday I ran 26km in 25C with 70% humidity), I have started testing out different gels and drinks to see what works for me. Here is what I have learned.
Isotonic drink – PowerBar 5 electrolytes tablets, Mango flavor
This stuff is great! Normally when I run in hot weather, I start feeling all tingly from the loss of electrolytes, making it very difficult for me to push through long runs. However, by adding one of these tablets to my 500 ml donut, this is no longer the case! And, the mango flavor is not too strong and quite delicious (not sweet, a little salty). I haven’t tried anything else because I am super happy with it. If you know of other delicious electrolyte drinks though, feel free to tell me all about them in the comments :)
Ugh. Gels. GELS. This has not been a fun testing experience. Most of the things I have tried have been abominations taste-wise (with only one exception). However, all have helped me energy-wise, so technically, they are doing their job. I can see why people force them down. Here is how I have rated those I have tried.
PowerGel Iso –
Orange: Tastes like salty vomit, but not the worst flavor of gel I’ve tried. This is not high praise… BUT – you only need water to wash away the yucky taste, not to rehydrate, as it’s not all goopy and gross. The after-breath is, however, foul.
Cola+caffeine: Doesn’t taste like salty vomit, but tastes just… awful. Like cola that has gone bad. Really bad. So bad that I was concerned I purchased something out of date!
Ultra Gel –
Berry flavour: Tastes of the devil. THE ACTUAL DEVIL. Who died, and started to rot inside the gel packaging. Ugh. UGH. As long as I live, I shall never try another Ultra gel. NEVER. Made the orange PowerGel taste good, so I guess that was an upside...
Orange and berry flavours: A gel that tastes like fruit juice??? Surely not. And yet, having tried both the berry and orange iso flavours, I have abandoned my quest to find new gels, and will be using these delicious givers of carbs forever. So much more palatable than salty vomity death when you’re at 10 miles. Or any distance for that matter. Again, as it’s an isogel so no need for tons of water to wash it down! And the after-breath is fine too :)
So, that’s it really. I guess I can summarise my testing experience by saying ‘Gels are helpful, and high5 taste the best in my experience. Electrolyte drinks are also good, and the PowerBar one has my stamp of approval’. In future, I shall only be testing products that friends/followers tell me are not disgusting. And on that note, thanks Luis for recommending and giving me high5 gels. I’ve now bulk ordered some online, as I can’t find a shop here that sells them.