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Decoding Gels, Chews, and Sports Drinks. Your Guide to During Race Nutrition

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Are you fatigued after your hot summer runs? Are you running further or faster than you ever have? Training for a half or full marathon? It may be time to start exploring during-race nutrition.

During a race, nutrition is “food” that you take in while you are running. Yes, you heard that right you need to eat while you run. Why? you may ask, good question.

When you run, you sweat. Sweating is essential to keep your body cool. When your body gets warm and starts sweating the logical thing is to drink water. Drinking water is important, however, when you sweat you don’t just lose water you lose electrolytes, and burn calories.

There is an endless list of products you can use to replenish your body. We’ve broken down the most popular.

Gels- Gels are
small packs filled with toothpaste consistency gel-like stuff.  Each gel brand and flavor has a different concentration of electrolytes, sugar, and caffeine. For first-time gel takers, we recommend peanut butter by the GU brand.
The reason being it’s a flavor and consistency that goes together.


Pros– Variety of flavors Salted Watermelon to Root Beer. Available in various caffeinated or electrolyte levels. There are organic, vegan, and kosher options.

Cons– The texture can be difficult for some people. Can be messy.

Chews– Chews are gummies on steroids. These chews have the same benefits as the gels in gummy form. Honey Stinger, Clif, and GU make some of the most popular chews.

Pros– They taste like candy. You can eat half of one at a time.

Cons– Are large, and can be hard to carry. Chewing and running can be difficult for some.

Sports Drink– You’ve all seen the famous drink in the orange coolers on the sidelines of every football game. Sports drinks like Gatorade aren’t just for professional athletes. You can kill two birds with one stone by drinking a sports drink. You will get your water and electrolytes in the same bottle.

Pro– Lots of different flavors and brands to choose from. They come in powder and tabs. Drinks are very easy to take down just like water.

Cons– You have to carry a large amount on you. You must have water to dissolve it in. A lot of liquid can upset your stomach over time.

Try one or try them all. Just practice with them before race day you don’t want GI issues to de-rail you from your goal.

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