Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How Do You Supplement?

One thing I have learned about runners, is that everyone has a different taste when it comes to supplements. A quick list of what I have observed and/or tried include; gels, shot blocks, power bars, fig newtons, pretzel bits, sport beans and "Smucker's Uncrustables". Additionally, there are any number of electrolyte drinks and capsules.

Personally, I supplement my long runs with "gel". At the present time I am using "Hammer" brand, plain flavor. I have used other brands and flavors, but cannot distinguish a marked difference in the result. On average, I consume one packet every hour. At races that provide a sports drink, I will drink one small cup every other stop, alternating with water. With the high temperatures and humidity we experience here in Florida, I have added "Succeed- S!caps". They contain only sodium-341mg and potassium-21mg. The recommended dosage is one capsule per hour.

Once again I am asking for your input and/or suggestions. What do you use?


Donna N. said...

I love the Power Bar Gels, Green Apple is my favorite. After the run, a BIG glass of chocolate milk. : )

hydrateme said...

I use a new device called 'AquaJoe'. It's a powder scoop/dispenser for athletes. It's ideal for situations where clean water is available. I take a few AquaJoes and a small water bottle. Every water fountain is now a 'Gatorade dispenser'.

Hung-Kwong Ng said...

I've been using caffeinated gels every 45 minutes in marathon. It doesn't have to taste good as long as it doesn't cause an upset stomach.

Hydration and electrolytes are really tricky. I would be cautious taking electrolytes. As you sweat, your blood sodium go up as its gets more concentrated. Supplemental electrolytes would further increase the concentration of sodium and could cause swelling in hands and feet. Swelling can also occur with too little sodium. It depends on taking the right amount of water along with the electrolytes. If you didn't lose a few pounds after a long run/marathon, you are overhydrated with either with too much or too little sodium.

Maddy said...

Great post Jim!

I have tried so many different fuels. I used to use the chocolate Clif Shots, they tasted a bit like cake frosting, but I had a hard time with the consistancy.

I like sport beans - it feels like a lot more than 100 calories. And I also like the Clif Shot Blocks (but not margarita flavor).

I have also used Clif Bars, and Luna Bars.

I never thought about Uncrustables, but I bet they work well. Yum!

Endurance said...

Most of my long runs are done at a relatively slow pace (1-2 min slower than race pace) and are so-called depletion runs so I drink only plain water (see . It's the way I've run for most of my life and works well as long as I run quite slower compared to race pace.

During races, however, I take a gel about every 45 minutes with water. If a familiar sports drink is being offered, I'll take a cup every other aid station (otherwise, I'll just drink water). I like Power gels the best because of the variety of flavors and electrolyte content. Having experienced for the first time some calf cramps after finishing my last marathon, I'll start carrying some salt caps too. The last gel I ate did not have any electrolytes in it (was a Gu brand gel, not Power Gel) and I think that was a mistake on my part.

ShirleyPerly said...

Ack, I posted the comment above while logged into my Endurance Sports Bar account. Sorry ...

FatManRun said...

Hi Jim~

Thanks for the blog comment and the quote. Much appreciated!

Congratulations on your 10K PR!

I managed to hurt myself on March 29 but I'm still planning to line up for Boston.

I've spent much more time cycling than running- But I tend to favor real food. I've used most of the gels with decent success. I usually save the caffeinated ones for later in the event. My preference is usually driven by the flavor- Most of the are disgusting! I like Honey Stingers, some of the Hammer flavors and Gu Expresso Love.

One of my favorites is the Hostess Twinkie. Before you fall over laughing, read the label and compare it too say, a power bar. They come in banana flavor now too... :o)

Steve Stenzel said...

I love gel too. And after long hard runs, I use Recoverite so my body gets what it needs quickly. I LOVE that stuff!!

Jim said...

Regarding "Twinkies", I know someone who has used Dunkin Donuts "Munchkins", the little donut holes!

Jim said...

Thank you for sharing your comments. It looks like "gels" take the number one spot. Of all the items listed, the "Twinkie" was new to me as a supplement. I don't remember the last time I had one.

Jade Lady said...

Any gel that offers apple flavor is my pick - I've never heard of some of uncrustables! Sounds yummy based on smucker's website, but I chewing for me while I run - can't seem to breathe well! I tried Clif Bloks, as i love these for cycling, but again, too much mouth movement for me while I run.

wyorx said...

Thanks everyone for the ideas

I have been trying a product from

I have tried most of the others (gels, bars, beans, etc) and find that I can't tolerate them (just can't choke them down).

So far so good. I have my first marathon in 11 weeks and I hope it can get me to the finish line.