Solution to Endurance Athlete Energy Gel??

by (2272) Updated May 04, 2013 at 6:19 AM Created April 05, 2013 at 9:27 PM

OK so I am a naughty paleo and participate in "chronic cardio". Rock N Roll SF Half Marathon is coming up on Sunday and I just got back from the expo to pick up my gear. For the run, my plan was to just keep a banana in my pocket (in a ziploc) as my mid-race fuel and stay away from Gu for the first time.

BOOM...at the expo I saw that PowerBar has made a "Performance Energy Blend" made with blueberry and banana puree!


Ingredients: Dual Source Energy Blend (Banana Puree, Blueberry Puree, Dextrose), and less than 2% of: Citric Acid, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol Acetate)

I know it's not PERFECT but seems pretty darn good (gluten free too). So waddya think?? Could this be a good alternative for Gu for those who don't want to make their own creation?

For me, it's better than carrying a banana and I haven't had great success making my own Gu. Might carry a small packet of sea salt too for the sodium.

Thanks for any responses!

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5 Replies

18794 · April 05, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Yes, in a case like this, this is probably the best commercially made energy bar I've seen. Granted, most of them are garbage. ;-)

I would actually consider banana puree superior to a banana mid-race, as hypothetically more (most?) of the banana's starch will have been broken down. I'm also not a fan of pre-mid-post workout dextrose that I see some people do at the gym, but in an instance like this, what's the harm?

... just stay all natural the rest of the time. :-)

3157 · May 04, 2013 at 6:19 AM

I'm also an endurance runner, ran a 2:47:58 marathon a month ago. I have got ridden of almost every refined and fast acting sugars from my diet, with the exception of some fruit or dried fruit, but I have it in low amounts, I average 50 to 100 grams of carbs a day, most of them from the fibrous types and some tubers.

I think that when you eat paleo and go moderate-to-low carb for some time you can re train your body to run on you fat, which despite of what the common wisdom of endurance running may say, it should be better and safest for the body (avoiding ROS, etc).

BUT it's true that when you are looking for ultimate performance at aggressive racing paces, ie beyond lactate threshold, or near aerobic threshold for very long, as in the marathon, a sustained supply of fast acting sugars will help in maintaining optimal blood levels for performance. This has been demonstrated in studies and it's difficult to refuse. Some, like Kruse, think that there's an optimal energy pathways, the PPP which in a perfect fat adapted, insulin sensitive and cold adapted individual should deliver outstanding performance just on body fat, and that may be the best way to go, but for now my take is that this is rarely seen... I'm actually doing more research about this and trying to comprehend it.

So, in the lines of what @greymouser said, on that specific day when you want ultimate performance, I'd take the compromise of consuming fast sugars (and I wont look even at the brand or how natural are they, In fact I may seek for the most fancy, boosting, caffeinated, etc) and let the healthy stuff rule the 99.5% of my other days.

I'm pretty sure you can be used to running on fat at least to deal with your daily basis training, so you only have to rely on this 'tricks' on the marathon day. For 10K and half-marathon I do not change my nutrition scheme very much, just I put some carbs on my breakfast like sweet potato (not much, not more than 100gr) or some natural marmelade (with no added sugars, just the purée stuff), or maybe just a banana or orange along with some coconut oil and a coffee or a tea for a little boost, maybe also some BCAA to deal with the muscle terror that endurance running causes.

A strategy that worked well with me is having the gels at KMs 16, 25, 30 and 35. Be sure to drink some water with them to avoid stomach issues, that's the last thing you'd want.

Hope it may help!

1122 · April 06, 2013 at 2:16 AM

How about a Buddy Fruit? Choose your flavor and carry one in your pocket. They have organic banana and many other flavors.....not an ad btw, this is what I use on shorter(10-12 mile) runs.

2094 · April 05, 2013 at 11:08 PM

yes much better than a mooshy banana floppin around in your pants. :) Youre gonna burn it off anywho so dont worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry so much about it. Have fun and goodluck :)

1981 · April 05, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Honey packets would make a good portable alternative to Gu.

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