I’ve been running for a awhile now and still haven’t nailed down my nutrition strategies for long runs. I really don’t care for the vast majority of “sports” products and to be perfectly honest, I don’t require very many calories while I’m working out. For example, on a 16-mile run I’ll take in around 75 calories 2/3 of the way and be fine. Anything less than 13 miles I don’t take anything and on long bike rides I either eat real food (PBJs! Bananas!) or have around 1/2 of a Clif bar. This is probably why I feel super nauseated after running long and hard, but my system just doesn’t like having lots of calories on the run. I’ll do Gu because it’s easy and quick, but I don’t love it… Clif shots are too big (too much volume) and take too long to eat, Clif shot blocks are too hard to chew while running and the whole Hammer family of products seems really complicated.
Last year when I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco I was able to get samples of a ton of stuff at the expo. I grabbed a couple packs of Sport Beans, threw them in my “athlete cupboard” in my kitchen (the home of all things “weird” like gus, gu2o mix, protein powder, etc) and promptly forgot about them. Then, a few weeks ago when I was leaving for a long run I realized that I was totally out of gels and my only option was the Sport Beans samples. So, I grabbed them and flew out the door.
After around 9 miles I was ready for some calories and busted in to the pack. I was pleasantly surprised that the little beans were pretty easy to chew on the go and even more surprised that they tasted like a little treat! They honestly tasted like regular jelly beans (these were blue flavor which is a favorite of mine) but are allegedly filled with extra electrolytes. Another thing to know about me as a runner (if you care) is that I’m a pretty salty sweater and I sweat a lot. I’m not prone to muscle cramping, but I am prone to the headache/nausea post-run that means your electrolytes are off balance. Well, after this particular run I didn’t have a headache and I was able to get food down right away! I’m not sure if it was the electrolytes in the beans or what, but I definitely felt good.
Taste: A! Yummy candy!
Effectiveness: A I didn’t bonk, so yeah!
Easy to carry: B They pack is bigger than a gel, but since I just hold them in my hand, it wasn’t a big deal
Bang for your buck: B they are just average price
Will I buy these again? Maybe. I get really sick of gels, so this is a nice alternative. I could see them being really yummy and fun to eat on the bike, so maybe I’ll give it a shot on a day I’m too lazy to make, cut up and bag a PBJ 🙂
Foot update: It actually feels great today. I did 65 minutes easy yesterday and today and felt 80% of normal this morning. I’m still going to the doctor on Friday because I want to know the root so I can prevent it in the future, but I feel hopeful. I think what scared me so much abou this issue is that I’ve never dealt with it before. When my IT band, glute or quads act up I know exactly how to address it, what to do so it doesn’t happen again in the future, etc but this was a brand new pain.