New Huma gels! If you recall, I previously tried out their blueberry and strawberry flavors before deciding to use solely the strawberry during the Country Music Half. Now they have a bunch more flavors to try, including some caffeinated ones.
An article I read the other day (coincidentally, since I had already ordered the gels), showed some research that intaking more gels per hour can increase performance during marathons and that gels with caffeine also help. I’m not running a full marathon and I’m not about to start downing the amount done in the study (60g of carbs), but I figure it can’t hurt to see what happens when I attempt to increase my fuel intake.
For the Country Music Half, I kept it pretty simple. I took in one gel about every hour (just before the water stops at miles 4.6 and 9.2), which was about 22g of carbs per hour. I want to try adding in one more gel to my plan, so roughly every 30-45 minutes.
Luckily, I have two long runs coming up that can help me experiment with this before Tom King.
In my upcoming 12 miler this weekend, I plan to try out some of the new flavors and attempt one of the new caffeinated gels (I’m fairly sensitive to caffeine since I rarely ingest it). How this goes will determine how I decide to fuel the Cedars Frostbite Half next weekend, which I’m not racing but am using as kind of a dress rehearsal for Tom King. Cedars has three water stations (miles 3, 7, and 10), so that will correspond nicely to taking in three gels and making sure my stomach can tolerate that.
My 11 miler last weekend was done without any gels at all (though I probably topped off my glycogen with Oreos and milk before I headed out), and I managed to average just 11 seconds off of goal pace. It’s actually better* to do most training runs without fueling so that your body can learn how to use fat as a backup fueling source when you’re all out of glycogen. This is why I pick one or two long runs where I test flavors and strategy and ignore the rest of them.
I’m excited to try new flavors and determine what I’ll be carrying during my goal halves this year!
*Or so I’ve read. I’m not an expert.