Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to run like you're being chased by bears

I'm in hardcore training mode for the Columbus Half Marathon, being held next month in Columbus, Ohio, so my adventurous eating and drinking has been curtailed a bit. But I have discovered a little bit of deliciousness in the form of an energy gel - Cliff Shot Mocha.

What's an energy gel you ask? Normally it's a packet filled with chemically, not-so-great tasting gel designed to help you run faster/have better endurance during long runs or races if eaten before or during an event. Unlike most other energy gels, the Cliff brand tries to use all natural ingredients. I ran in a 10K over the weekend and gave the Mocha flavor a shot. I was a little concerned because it contains caffeine and I wasn't sure how my body would react during my run. Maybe I just drink too much coffee on a regular basis, but I wasn't able to feel the effects of the caffeine, but I was able to taste how surprisingly delicious the gel was. I was expecting to have to choke it down, but it tasted a lot like hot fudge with a thicker texture. (Think hot fudge that's been sitting in a warmer at an ice cream store for too long - a little thicker than normal but still good.) I'm a big fan of anything that tastes like real chocolate (not carob - blech), so I had high hopes for this gel.

This was my first 10K race in quite some time, but I felt good during the entire race. I didn't feel tired or achy. Maybe it was all mental, but I think the gel helped. It might be my go-to for all my upcoming races. I mean, I did manage to win a trophy in this race. (My first non-academic trophy, BTW.)

To any active folks out there, what do you do to try to stay energized during a race or a strenuous physical activity? Do you use gel like me or do you have your own secret recipe for success?


  1. Nice job this weekend! I ran the Cleveland Heroes Run in West Park this past weekend and it was a great race. However, once you go down in the Metroparks, you forget you have to come back up. The hill coming back up onto Rocky River Drive was nuts! Anyways, I don't have any strategies for maintaining energy. My big thing is just to hydrate hydrate hydrate the night before. Obviously the morning of the race is important too, but for a half-marathon, you don't wanna have to use the facilities mid-race. I almost took a gel pack during the River Run, but decided not to. I am doing the Akron Half Marathon this weekend and may try a gel since it is a more challenging course than River Run. Anyways, good luck with your Columbus training! I commented recently about your trip to Treehugger's and I also post as JacketTennis or JacketTennisRyan in the Cleveland.com Food and Wine Forum. Happy running!

  2. Thanks for your advice! I get dehydrated pretty easily, so I might go the gel route during the race...we'll see, though. I don't want to have to stop unless I'm ready to keel over or something.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate your insight!