Running is a very simple past time when you start out. You grab a pair of shoes and start to run somewhere for some length of time.
Then it gets confusing. Training plans, Equipment and hydration/fuel. All factors that change as your distances increase and your goals change.
As you run longer you sweat more and the need to replace water, carbs, calories, electrolytes, etc. Simple right? It’s not that simple as there are many product available to provide these in different forms as well as inclusion of other additives to help you along.
The best advice I have received is to always practice and test out all strategies in running before a super long run or a race. You don’t want to be 10k from home of half way through a race to discover the new gel you are trying is playing havoc on your guts. “GI issues” are a code that runners use for impromptu ugly outhouse or woods visits.
Here are my experiences with some GU branded products that can be found here: Running Free GU Product.
GU Energy Chews
I like these. These are gummies for athletes. The package advertises 80-90 calories and 40mg of sodium. Both are needed. There are also lots of simple sugars included that provide energy that is easily converted for immediate use. I like these pre-run. The full package has 4 chews and it takes me too much effort while huffing and puffing eating a whole pack vs. a single gel. Before or after a run I find these much more accessible.
GU Energy Gel
These are the cornerstone of the product line. Gels come in dozens of flavours and are an easy and quick way to pound some nutrition into your body. A side effect is sticky hands.
An important thing to note on this product that some contain caffeine and some don’t. I typically reach for the caffeine versions as I need all the help I can get but others may have sensitivity to caffeine or perhaps you run at night and don’t want added caffeine in your system. Check the package.
These are my go-to for long runs and races. They pack small and planning on one before and one every 30 minutes of a race or long run duration means you need to carry a few. They also roll up nice when empty to either carry home or deposit in the next garbage.
This name is a marketer’s dream. I bet the meeting when they came up with this name was a blast to be in … ‘it’s like rock’n’roll AND octane!’ mic drop.
I have used these for races primarily. They pack more of everything you need on a run including amino acids, sodium, caffeine, etc. vs. the standard GU Energy Gel. I save these for races as they are a bit more expensive and I am cheap.
GU Hydration Drink – Mix and Tabs
I prefer water on my run. During long runs many people may mix a hydration drink intake with a water intake.
In a race situation I may grab one or the other or both depending on how I feel ie what I feel like having. I sometimes find the drink too sweet and like to make a call when coming into a water station during a race. For a training run I typically bring water.
This product I consume after a run. I like to accelerate the replenishment of sodium and electrolytes and have a water bottle I toss a drink tab or scoop of mix into.
I’ve been successful experimenting with these and a few other GU products. The important thing for you is to try them out yourself. Buying and trying new things is fun but I settle on a few dependable options and flavours that work on race day and stick to them.