Do you Gu?

As mentioned in my last post, I decided that I want to buckle down and get my fueling options squared away before November 12!

So, after chatting with a really helpful and friendly Ragged Mountain Running staffer (who has run Boston multiple times AND ran his last 26.2 within ONE minute of Olympic trials qualification!!) I left the shop with several different options, including:

So far, I have tried the Hammer Gel and I don’t know if it was the mental thing about me just loving Huckleberry flavored stuff, but I was impressed!  The gel’s consistency wasn’t too thick, and the flavor didn’t taste overly sticky or fake – I took it right before Mile 6 on my 13.1 mile run on Sunday.  As a test, I think I will continue that trend each long run day (a gel every 6 miles) and observe the effect.  I have 20 miles on the docket this weekend so that’ll be some good proving ground!!
Of course, I know that the road to finding the right fuel will probably not be as wonderful as with this recent find, but believe me – this foray isn’t just beginner’s luck!  In fact…quite the opposite!  I am just proud that I’ve stepped back up to conquer this mission!
...what are the answers you seek?
A little backstory…
In the past, I have both trained with Clif Shot Bloks but their size sometimes isn’t the most conducive to carrying during a race – plus I am not the most coordinated person (understatement of the century!) so I wanted to find an option that was as literally ‘grab and go’ as possible that worked for me.  Additionally, I found out that the Richmond Marathon uses Accel Gel so I wanted to somewhat condition my body to them, should I need to take advantage of them at Mile Stops 14 and 21.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Accel gel locally, so I purchased the first gels I could find, which happened to be the Clif Shot Gels – I just bought one, Razz flavor.  I figured hey, I like berry flavored stuff and I love the blocks and the bars, why not this?
Famous last words.
See, I took the gel with me to the Charlottesville HS track one sunny July afternoon.  I rode my bike there (about 1.5 miles) then parked, ran about two laps then ripped open the gel and…
I popped open my water bottle and chugged for a good 30 seconds to desperately remove that disgusting flavor and gloppiness out of my mouth, throat and memory.  It was somehow salty and thick, artificial tasting and yuck-mo all around.  I guess I just didn’t know what I was expecting from the gel, but all I knew was that I did not like it!  There were some teenage kids playing flag football in the grassy area surrounded by the track and I swear they stopped and stared at me as I coughed and gasped up a storm by the stairwell.
SOOOOO, yeah.
Needless to say, this weekend’s SUCCESS with the Hammer Gel was definitely a stepping stone!  Maybe it’s a combination of a better product, the right mindset (because as you can see, I am giving Clif another shot [PUN INTENDED] but with a different flavor this time!) or just something else completely, but I am so thankful that I ‘got over myself’ in time to get these fueling bases covered  before the big race.
How do you fuel?  Did it take you a long time to reach the ‘perfect’ formula for you?  Any recommendations??
ETA: The Lulu blog has a great post today that is on a very similar subject: Marathon Meals: Fuel on the Go.


  1. Hi Krissy… it took me a while to find palatable fuel. For the longest time, I tried to live off of sports drinks before giving in to gels. I use GU… some flavors are better than others (I like vanilla, espresso, gingerbread, basically not fruit ones). Great idea on getting a “sampler pack”!

  2. I have a true love/hate relationship with gels. I know they are a necessary evil on long runs as replenishing my calorie base is vital and eating food food isn’t conducive to a race environment. So far, I’m a tried and true Gu girl. I like most of their flavors and they seem to sit easy on my stomach. I particularly like the Tri-Berry and Mint Chocolate flavors. Lemon Lime isn’t so bad either. I have to stay away from the unflavored (plain) and vanilla…both just sound like they would be gross to me. I have heard GREAT things about the Hammer gel but have yet to try them. I did buy a few and from the squishiness of the package, they definitely seem to be of a thinner consistency than Gu.

    I’m also a fan of the Clif Bloks though I usually don’t use them in races…just on long runs where I can stash them at my car.

    This past Saturday I tried the pomegranate HoneyStingers chews and they were really good. I would recommend those as well!

    • Wow, great feedback, Katie!

      It’s so weird how so many people have such strong opinions on Gu, I have found – it seems like you really need to find your specific ‘niche.’

      The guy I talked to in the running store emphasized several times that everyone really is different – for example, he said he doesn’t like flavors … then you read a blog and someone is into the fruity ones … and someone else into the coffee or chocolate ones … it’s like choice overload!

      I really like the Shot Bloks – especially the Tropical punch one! I have received them in race swag bags and like their candy-like aspect. But I am scared of swallowing them in a race, lol!

  3. Glad the post on lululemon today was helpful, too! It really is just about trying different things and figuring out what works for you. I’ve done everything from Baked Lays (not a common ‘purchase’ but the salty snack was PERFECT for me on the run – though, not ideal for carrying), to shot bloks (one of my faves – the package fits in my camelbak pocket) to gus (which I can never stomach). It’s great to see what your race will offer, as that might be your emergency fuel source on that day, if you need it!

    • Thanks for your insight, Heather! I enjoy hearing what works for each person to really identify methods to find the best one for me. I hope this helps others, too! 😀

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