Fueling during races (and long runs) has constantly been a weakness for me. Gels are obviously the way to go, but some are weak, some are too strong, and most have the consistency of snot.
Enter Science in Sport gels.
We received a ton of gels for use, and I haven’t even gotten through them all in about 6 weeks. One group was caffeine infused gels, espresso flavored, another was a more standard gel (Strawberry or Lemon and Mint), and the other was an Isotonic gel designed to be taken without water (Apple flavor).
All of them had one thing in common. They go down super easy. The consistency is closer to water or juice than it is to some other gels on the market.
The caffeine infused gels were designed (according to the directions) to take pre-workout/run. I did this going into the Yorkville 4 Mile. While I didn’t notice a huge difference in performance (I probably took it too early, admittedly), I did PR.
Two days later, I tried out the Strawberry gel (also probably too early). Again, I didn’t feel a palpable difference, but I did win the race. So it came with good results.
Quickly, the Strawberry became my go to for a pre-workout gel on super hot days. When I do a lap at Busse Woods in Elk Grove, there’s no water out there, so pre-fueling is a must; especially when the heat of the summer took hold.
I held off on trying the Apple flavor (the Isotonic gel where you don’t need to take it with water) until my race in Alabama. No amount of gel was going to save me in that one.
This past weekend, during our Heat Warning in Chicago, I took one of the Apple gels with me on our 12 miler. I put it down at 6, and was definitely in way better shape on the return part of our out and back than the people I was running with. Since I almost never take a gel on training runs, I can tell you that I definitely felt a palpable difference having taken the gel on that run.
Now, let’s talk flavor. I didn’t love the Espresso flavored gel. Then again, I don’t love Espresso in general, so maybe that shouldn’t have been a surprise. The Salted Strawberry one was amazing. As I mentioned above, it was easily my favorite. I was a bit weary about the Apple, but it turned out to be amazing as well. Basically like watered down Applesauce.
Maybe that’s not the best way to describe it.
I haven’t tried the Lemon and Mint yet, since I’m not willing to open a new package since I still have the Strawberry.
The only thing I didn’t love about the gels was the small opening to take it. Maybe I’ve gotten used to other brands with a larger area you can tear off. Also, when you’re super sweaty, I found it a little more challenging to tear off the top. Minor details.
All in all, I was surprised at how much I liked the gels. I definitely recommend them, especially if you’re busy training in hot weather this summer. To be able to take in a gel without needing to chase with water is fantastic.