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7662 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Oct 27, 2010 8:45 AM by Lauracooks 1 2 Previous Next
Maryalicia Legend 255 posts since
Jun 28, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 15, 2010 3:32 PM

Gu, Gels, electrolyte Bars- Which should I choose?

I am just begginning my longer runs (6-7 this Sunday) and want to try and take some of these gels or bars to help me along. What is the difference between them? I am sure it may come down to a preference, but even some gels are priced differently than other gels. If there is already a topic on this- would someone be willing to link it?




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  • MCWing Amateur 18 posts since
    May 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 18, 2010 12:51 PM (in response to Maryalicia)
    Re: Gu, Gels, electrolyte Bars- Which should I choose?

    Maryalecia, I'm still new to these products as well and I have only "experimented" with a few types (there are probably better/just as good ones out there I dont know of). I definitely interested in what pthers have to say as well! That said, I like the consistency of Power Bar GU. I have only tried the chocolate which has caffiene (it reminds me of chocolate icing ). I usually start sipping it after 45-50 minutes on any run longer that 6 miles. I did try taking one all at once 45 minuted prior to a run and had awful intestinal I don't reccomend that haha. Good luck and have fun experimenting.



  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 18, 2010 12:03 PM (in response to Maryalicia)
    Re: Gu, Gels, electrolyte Bars- Which should I choose?

    You really have to try them.  For instance, GU and Power Bar Gel are similar, both being gels, but also quite a bit different in taste and consistency.  BTW, GU is a brand name, separate from other gels.  Lately I like Power Bar Gel Blasts, with something like gummi bear consistency and taste.  You can also get adequate calories and electrolytes by drinking exclusively sports drink - Gatorade, Powerade, Accelerade, etc.  Others like NUUN tablets provide electrolytes but not calories.  Other alternatives are water and foods like bits of pretzels or bagels, various candy like gummi bears, even mini Snickers (which I have used occasionally).  You just have to try them and see what works for you and what sits well on your stomach.


    Another BTW, take gels and other foods with water.  Taking them with sports drink can result in too many calories and stomach upset.




  • Beer and Cupcakes Legend 970 posts since
    Nov 19, 2009

    Here's one many of you may not have thought of.  Honey.   No Im not goofy, honey.   Honey is primarily fructose and glucose,  lower glycemic index than sucrose, easy to digest with some enzymes, amino acids, minerals.  Its also ALOT cheaper than the gu's.  I add honey to my hydration belt bottles with electrolyte mix for extra fuel during long runs,  and I tie off corners of heavy ziplock backs with honey for long races.   When you need a shot, bite off the tip and down the honey.   Yes, its nice to do it at a water stop for a chaser, just like with the gu's.   But IMO honey taste better and is easier to down an ounce of than the sticky Gu products.   Cheers.

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  • vcackerman Legend 340 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    Has anyone tried the new Gatorade versions of these?


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  • runningchew20 Amateur 11 posts since
    Jan 15, 2008

    You should try different ones.  I stick with the GU brand (I like the orange blast) because it works for me.  Some of my running friends don't like the GU and use other kinds of stuff.  I tried the Gatorade gels but they made my stomach sick.

  • Basscycle Legend 236 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    One thing about the gels and bars is that, when you're breathing hard, it's really easy to suck some down the wind pipe -- Gu's are fantastic in that regard. When I was using the gels though, I'd pop one in my mouth, put it between my molars and cheek, and let it disolve. As far as brands, I personally like the stuff that Clif Bar puts out, their ingedients seem to be a bit less processed.

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  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007

    This is a quote from the insert that was inside this months Runners World:  Glycogen depletion leads to heavy legs, and low blood sugar leads to fatigue.  Aviod both by initiating the refueling and rehydrating process early in a race:  don't wait for your glycogen stores to run dry or your blood sugar to drop.  You should consume 30-60 grams of carbs per hour for exercise lasting 1-2 hours, or 45-90 grams of carbs per hour for exercise lasting more than 2 hours.   I agree with all but getting that amount of carbs seems very hard, 45-90 grams is two to three things a hour that is a lot.  Last race I could not take anything in after about mile 18.   The faster I run the harder it is to take on fuel and water both because of my stomach and just getting it in while running?    I hope I get it worked out, it will make a big  difference.

  • RunRacheyRun Rookie 6 posts since
    Jul 27, 2010

    I am a big fan of the cliff bloks. They are sort of like eating gummy bears (that have been squished into a square) do not leave the gross feeling in my mouth that gels do and are less messy and easier to consume i think.

    Hartford ING Half Marathon October 9th 2010   2:27:49   (first one!)

  • nudelbomber Amateur 19 posts since
    Aug 9, 2010

    There's a darn fine product missing from this thread: Jelly Belly Sports Beans. The main advantage the beans have over GU, powergel and bars is how easy they are to pop mid-run. Each bean provides a shot of electrolyte that is absorbed rapidly; they won't choke you like bars, and essentially dissolve in the mouth; the flavors are nice; a serving contains 80mg of sodium. An added plus is the association one tends to have with jelly beans - they feel like a snack rather than a chore. I would say the drawbacks are the low caloric value (only 100 cal per pouch, like GU) and the fact that they are a little more cumbersome than the gels. I keep 2 pouches with me on runs over 18 miles and have been really pleased with results thusfar.


    Keep the beans in mind as an alternative if you can't do GU or bars. I think they might solve a lot of issues for folks who experience GI issues with some of the bulkier energy thangs.

  • DadtoTwins Pro 55 posts since
    Mar 17, 2009

    I might have to try some of these beans or other type "gummi". I ran a half marathon in March and used Gu gels during training and the race. I had no problem with them. I'm training for another half  marathon coming up on November 7. For some reason, I just can't take Gu gels this time. It almost makes me gag trying to get it down. I don't know if they are too sweet, or just the consistency. It's really weird how I had no trouble 6 months ago, but now I can't stand them.



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  • DadtoTwins Pro 55 posts since
    Mar 17, 2009

    I had an 11 miler on Sunday morning. I tried Cliff Blocks for the first time and they seemed to work well. I had the Margarita flavor which has extra sodium. I do tend to sweat alot when running, so I think the extra salt helped. Another good thing about the blocks, one serving is supposed to be 3 blocks, but you can space them out. I did one block every couple of miles instead of all at one time. When you take gels, you really have to do the whole thing at one time or it might get messy leaking out.



    Run the Quay 5k, 6/4/11, 24:34

    Tobacco Road Half Marathon 3/20/2011, 1:52:19

  • thedevotedrunner Legend 439 posts since
    Jul 7, 2009

    I don't take any of these.  Used to take bars, but didn't like having to stop mid run to chew them, and they were harder in the winter, and harder to chew.  I have switched to getting all of my carbs/electrolytes  in liquid. Two ways you can do this.  Well, probably more than two, but two that I know of....ok, 3...I'm a liar I know I said two, now I'm going back on myself....but i digress.


    1)Go with a nutritional company like Infinite nutrition. I'm sure there are others out there, but this is the one that I know.  They make custom blends of fuel so that you can get all of your nutrition from one source.

    2) Get a sport drink mix and mix it double strength.  Now, you don't HAVE to mix it double.  If you mix it regular, you get all of the nutrition your body can consume in 1 - 32oz bottle, but I don't like to drink that much in 1 hour.  I mix it double so that I get the same amount in a 16oz bottle and then suppliment with water if I need more. 

    3) Mix your own.  There are many recipes out there, but here is what I use.  1 packet of Kool-ade (any flavor), 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/8 ts table salt, 1/8 ts salt substitute (adds potassium).  This works great for me.  There are MANY other recipes out there on the web. You might find one you like better. 

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