Do you use energy gels for your long distances runs and races?
I do but I tend to find them a little too sweet and sickly. I use Science in Sport gels and like the fact that they can be taken without a drink making them easy to swallow; particularly important when racing as I don’t like chewing things when I’m breathing hard. However, sometimes I would prefer something that gave me the energy but with a less sugary taste. Also some people find that gels have a tendency to upset their stomach – ever seen people disappearing into the bushes or diving behind a wall on a long race? Not ideal is it!
So, is there an alternative to energy gels?
One thing that I have found to work quite well is baby food! Yes those little pouches of mushed up food that I always thought must taste disgusting. Well a little bit of trial and error with the flavours has led me to one that is actually quite pleasant!
I have tried several brands and prefer Ella’s Kitchen; I particularly like the mango, yoghurt and rice baby brekkie. The mix of fruit and yoghurt gives a tangy rather than sweet taste and the rice means that is slightly thicker than a SiS gel (which is designed to be taken without water) although they are still easy to swallow. It has no added sugar and the 100g pouch contains 112 kcal compared to 87 kcal in a 60ml gel. They cost around £1, the same as a gel and the twist top means that you can reseal the pouch if you don’t want to swallow it all in one go. This also prevents the remnants leaking out into your bag when you’ve finished it.
I use baby food as fuel on long training runs and also on very long races such as the High Peak Marathon whilst on both the Paddy Buckley and Ramsay rounds I carried baby food pouches as an essential part of my nutrition strategy. There are other flavours and other brands, I suggest you check which has the most calories per 100g.
I put the baby food to the test on a long run, you can see what I found in the video. Before you go though, a quick word of warning – give the fish pie and mashed potato pouches a miss – YUK!!