Thursday, March 18, 2010

To GU or not to GU?

So last week we fretted about weather for our long run on Friday. This week I have a different dilemma (although the projected 17-19 mph winds are a bit concerning for tomorrow afternoon. wishing that changes but we all know how well my wishes come true when it comes to the weather...). The conundrum (i SO love that word) is whether to fuel up mid-run with the tried-and-true (but pain in the ass to use come race time) Sport Beans or switch it up and try a GU.

For those wondering what in the heck I am talking about...
It is recommended if you are running (or cycling) for an hour or more you should take in some kind of energy every 30 minutes (and hydrate along with it). Old school would be the leather-like Powerbars (you know, the ones that you'd rip out your back molars trying to eat). Now there are more types of gels, beans, blocks, gummys, etc. than you can shake a stick at (that phrase is a shout out to my Pop-Pop in heaven). Since I've been running long, I've stuck to the beans. Now this is OK for the little water stops during Diva training. But trying to consume these suckers while you are actually racing (not that I am ever really "racing", but I like to think I pick the pace up a little during races...) is another story. You either try to suck the whole package down (approx. 10 beans) and wind up chomping and slopping, and drooling out your water, because your mouth is full of...well...a crap load of mushed up jelly beans! Or you drag it out by popping a few in your mouth at a time. Regardless, they stick in your teeth so you are losing your breathing trying to toungue them out, all the while your mouth gaping open. Not so pretty for that mile 8 photo-op!

The GU is in a little packet and its...well...GU I suppose. Let's just say I don't want to think about what it is because it has been described to me as something that about puts my gag reflex into overdrive (sorry Mom). There are a variety of flavors, from fruity to candy. I have heard the chocolate one tastes just like chocolate frosting. HIGHLY doubtful. But, I think the ease of getting one of those puppies down would be much easier than doing the Sport Bean "chompy chomp" (as my 4 year old describes my 6 year old at the dinner table).

So. *They* say you should experiment while training, never while racing. So the big test will be tomorrow. To GU or not to GU? I'd better bring a packet of beans just in case...


  1. Never really run far enough to eat in the middle of the run:) How was the GU?

  2. The GU worked out alright! Except my legs were DEAD tired after that run but I don't think any type of gel, bar, bean would help with that one ;o) Hope all is well with you and you are back in the swing after your Down Under jaunt!

  3. Hey- give the shot blocks a try. 3 blocks = 1 gel & 6 blocks are in a package. During the last marathon, I did one block every other water stop (so 1 every 4 miles or so), and it really evened out the ups and downs (and stomach issues and gag issues) throughout the race. Just a thought & something new to try!!