The Great 2012 Fuel Experiment

16 Feb

For so long I’ve been battling nausea on my long runs and races and I couldn’t figure out why. Now that I’ve taken my marathon training to the next level – with New Orleans less than 3 weeks away, and Cox Rhode Races in May (which you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming weeks) I knew I had to figure something out quick.

A few weeks ago I mentioned this to my friend Jen. She is also a runner, and she works at REI, so she’s knowledgeable in all things run-fuel related.

She asked me what I was taking during my runs; I told her GU. I had discovered on my own that there are certain flavors of GU that I can’t take, such as Strawberry-Banana, Vanilla Bean, and Roctane Pomegranate Blueberry. I told her all of this and she recommended some new to me products.

These products also fall in line with my wanting to eat more natural food.

I took her advice and tried the following:

Honey Stinger Chews – in Pink Lemonade, Orange Blossom, and Pomegranate Passion Fruit.

I really like these chews. I’ve tried GU Chomps and Clif Shot Bloks in the past. Both of those were too big for me to chew, and got stuck in my teeth. The Shot Bloks also left me with a gooey feeling in my throat. The Honey Stingers are small, don’t get stuck in your teeth, and are really tasty. Plus they’re USDA Certified Organic.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans – in Assorted. The flavors included in this package are berry, fruit punch, lemon lime, and orange.

I like the Sport Beans because they’re easy to chew (they’re just like a standard jelly bean) and they’re juicy. They don’t dry your mouth out or make you feel super thirsty. They are also made with natural flavoring and natural colors.

Hammer Gel – in Montana Huckleberry and Raspberry.

These are delicious! It’s like eating a packet of jam. I bought the orange flavor as well but haven’t tried it yet. These are gluten free and vegan friendly, as well all natural.

None of these fuels bother my stomach, and I have not had a bout of nausea since using them. Looks like no more GU for me!

Marathon Training - I've eaten way more of this stuff lately than I care to!

I’ve also begun fueling every 45 minutes on any run 10 miles or longer. Someone told me this once, and I can’t remember who or I’d give her credit right now! It also says it on the package of most run fuels! Smile with tongue outEver since starting this I’ve never bonked or hit the wall in any of my long runs.

What do you guys use to fuel your long runs and races?






11 Responses to “The Great 2012 Fuel Experiment”

  1. Robin February 16, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Once your body gets used to the long distances, you will notice that the nausea goes away regardless of what you are eating. During my first few marathons, I could only eat one kind of gel. Now, I can eat almost anything. Your legs will take less effort to run far, therefore your stomach will get some of the blood back to digest those yucky gels. I am glad you found a solution for your marathon. What a relief!

  2. jobo February 16, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    I do like shot blox, but you bring up a good point, they do sort of leave a film in your throat, don’t they? I gotta try the sport beans. yum LOL

  3. Brigid February 16, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    I also like the Honey Stingers. I haven’t tried the sport beans, but will give them a try. It’s good to have products recommended from someone else with a sensitive stomach. Thanks for the information!

  4. Kristin February 16, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    I’m glad to see that you found something that works for you. Nausea on a run is the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.

    After being turned off by gels a looooong time ago, I figured I’d give them another shot. Lately, it’s been working for me – especially ones w/caffeine (hello Chocolate Outrage). I have been more conscious of when I eat them and 45 minutes definitely works – you catch yourself before you hit the wall! I used to solely eat Shot Bloks and I still love them, but I will only eat them prior to heading out for a run.

  5. JessSutera February 16, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I need to start experimenting with fuel when I start training for Providence. I told you before, I get SO NAUSEOUS at the end of half marathons and I am pretty sure its because I’m not fueling enough during the race. I am usually just fine during long runs with less fuel but I think once I’m in race mode, I need more fuel and haven’t been doing my body justice that way. I am going to try the honey stingers for sure, and the sport jelly bean when it’s time to start training again (which is SOON, yay!)

  6. Jamie February 16, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Yay for New Orleans! I’m training for that race too. GUs work well for me, but I saw the Honey Stingers and wanted to try them also. Congrats on finding fuel that doesn’t make you feel queasy. Figuring out a fuel plan can be quite a feat!

  7. Kat (Eating The Week) February 16, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I’ve been meaning to try the Stingers, for times when I’ve run out of the homemade chia-seed gel I use. That recipe may be something you could try, in your efforts to focus on natural foods. I use the gooey version here: Midpack Runner also has a recipe for a thicker gel version:

    I can’t deal with GUs – they taste too chemical-y, and I don’t like the texture.

  8. Suzanne February 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I can’t do GU gels at all but the GU chomps seem to be perfect for me. Hope you find the right combination that works for you! Everyone is different.

  9. Jessica M February 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Love the Sport Beans! I haven’t tried the Honey stingers yet, but my husband loves them! Not that much longer till you get to rock RnR New Orleans! 🙂

  10. eatingforexcellence February 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    I totally want to try the sports beans!

  11. Katie February 22, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    In the past, I’ve used Hammer gels and Gu, both of which were fine. Lately, I’ve been running with the Roctane Pomegranate Blueberry gels. You’re not the only one who has an issue with that flavor…I have another running friend who can’t take them too. I’ve never been good at fueling, but I’ve started opening a gel every 30 minutes (for long runs/races). I slowly eat it over the next 20 minutes. This strategy has made a big difference for me…

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