What better way to start than to review what helped fuel me through the North Downs Way 50?!
GU energy gel
I am pretty sure that most of you guys have either seen or tried them but they are well worth a mention here!
I was lucky enough to have some of these sent to me to review by the wonderful folks at GU Energy Labs UK,(click for the site) Thank again guys! Then luckier still to find that Centurion Running (click to check them out) was supplying GU as well!
This meant that I got to give them a good 50 mile test in one day and hopefully try lots of different ones too! WIN! :)
I would advise that if you have never used gels before to try them during your training and do not just grab them at an event just in case you do not get on with them. This can be said of any food/gel/electrolyte replacement etc....
I have tried GU on and off for ages so I know how my body responds to them, with the exception of Roctane which this was my first time trying it. I know, I know I just said don't do it but I was a long way into the 50 mile run and was curious!
I was interested in trying some of the other flavours for the first time but as it turned out I had picked up the ones I had tried already! Oh well!
At a very handy 100 calories a pack these are ideal for stashing away in a pocket for those long runs. Weighing in at a tiny 32 grams and coming in such a small packet makes these my gel of choice so far!
The 100 calories is ideal for me as that translates to an hour of fuel in a very small portion.
The small packet is a big deal for me as it allows me to carry hours and hours of "food" but not have to sacrifice space in my bag. Most of all it also keeps the weight down!
With other gels I have found that the packet can sometimes be so big that I cant stash them anywhere or I cant eat it all! When you are travelling for hours and hours the idea of trying to eat a massive gel becomes a pain for the following reasons...
1 - Its messy!
2 - What do you do with the massive sticky packet?! (no, you don't throw it on the trail!)
3 - After hours and hours of running I don't tend to crave anything too big as it just feels harder to process while on the move.
I want something quick, easy to swallow and hopefully tasty with the smallest amount of fuss involved!
I have tried other gels and found them either quite watery or just bland, with GU you most definitely wont find that! My favourites so far have to be the Chocolate Outrage and Espresso Love as they both have a great flavour and are even slightly chewy! Make sure you continue to sip at your water though as they are very very sticky.
A caution to the hungry! Open them with care as GU on you hands and arms isn't coming off for a while!
On the positive side however you will have very tasty fingers for the next few miles! WIN!
Lets get a little technical for a while shall we?
GU isn't just some bag of tasty sugar it is a lot more complicated than that.
Containing Sodium, Potassium, Protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Calcium you can already see that it is not just a pretty packet. GU is a serious bit of kit if you are planning something big.
Speaking of big, lets have a little look at Roctane!
During my race I reached into my pocket and pulled this little guy out. Don`t let the size of it fool you, it packs a mighty punch! I tried two different flavours on my way round. Blueberry Pomegranate and Vanilla Orange.
Roctane is pretty much the other gels bigger meaner brother!
Containing all of the above and a whole bunch more like caffeine, Leucine, Valine, Isoleucine, Histidine (they sound scary but they are Amino acids) and Ornithine Alpha-Ketaglutarate (that is meant to help reduce muscle trauma apparently!)
Taste wise I personally didn't enjoy the Blueberry Pomegranate as much as the others. I found it a little intense and just not to my taste.
The Vanilla Orange however was nice, strong flavour but good.
The main difference I found between the Roctane and the normal GU gels was the extra caffeine boost which was nice that late into the race.
I think in future I would keep a couple of these guys for that exact use. I am not too sure that I could eat these all the way round as the flavours are just a little harsh for my personal taste but I would definitely like to have a few hidden away for when the wheels start to go square!
I did also try out the GU Chomps but I think it is a much fairer test if I come back to them at a later date when I can use them just on their own.
Well I think that just about wraps it up for the moment until I can come back with some new flavour tests.
Please note that any of the advice on here is purely from my own experience and you should always do as much research as you can or consult a professional if you have any concerns or questions concerning any of the contents. Once again I would advise that if you have never used gels before to try them before an event, actually this can be said of any food/gel/electrolyte replacement etc...
Till next time chums, run, read, rediscover, repeat!