18 July 2013

my mowph ith stuk wiff goop!

if you've been disappointed that i haven't been posting as regularly as i once was, i'm sorry about that ... the summer has been jam packed with work as i'm helping to get our volunteer team ready for the Rogers Cup tournament starting on august 3rd.  what started out as a fun volunteer gig for me with Tennis Canada has become a passion and a seasonal job working as part of the volunteer office coordinating the logistics and resources for our over 1000 volunteers each summer.  good times - just busy times!

but fear not, good townspeople ... this fanatical runner continues to log the kilometres.  even in this wicked heatwave.

on my coach's recommendation, i've begun to use a 4-bottle hydration belt (generously given to me by my friend trevor) on my long runs.  for probably 98% of all of my training over the past three years i've had no fluids, solids or gels with me - regardless of distance.  perhaps not the smartest move, but i've been reluctant to strap on anything that (a) restricts or constricts my body and (b) few things motivate me to move faster than the lure of refreshment/replenishment at the end of a good run.

now that the fuel belt (and yes, it is a FuelBelt) has been incorporated to my sunday morning routine, i've also decided to try bringing along gels to help get me through the 30+ km distances.  for those of you unfamiliar with gels, they are small packets (larger than fast food ketchup packs) of energy, often providing much needed
  • carbohydrates
  • sodium/potassium (which helps stave off muscle cramps) 
  • and sometimes caffeine
... for the endurance athlete.  they come in various flavours to suit just about any palate, and are usually quite affordable at a couple of dollars per single use gel.  they're usually sold at running specialty stores - but as i discovered with glee (and relief) they can also be found at well-stocked bicycle stores such as T.I. Cycle in gananoque.

i've tried most of the major brands of gels - powerbar, gu, hammer, clif.  to-date i've found that gu gels provide me with the most bang for my buck, although hammer nutrition's gels (promoted as all natural) are the easiest consistency for me to swallow.

in the gu brand, the flavs that i stock up on the most are:
  • strawberry banana
  • mint chocolate
  • jet blackberry
  • chocolate raspberry roctane (uber-caffeinated to wake me from my stupor during the late stages of the run)
while not everyone subscribes to using them, i've found that they work for me ... in the right proportion.  i'll usually take one every 35-40 min. during a long run/race, because it takes about 30 min. for them to really kick in as an energy boost.  other people can take them less frequently, and apparently lance armstrong can take them once every 12 minutes - but then i'm told he takes other stuff too ... 

are you a gel-eater?  what brands or flavours do you prefer?  and how often do you consume?

if you don't take them, what do you know that we don't?

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