Thursday, July 15, 2010

Maltodextrin vs Brown Rice Syrup, or life after the World Cup

It turns out most runners can tolerate one or the other, but not both. Only one can make you champion. If.

When you're planning on running for about five hours, the question of how to fuel yourself while doing so becomes important. It's not about which gel or supplement will make you faster, tougher or badasser, it's which gel, supplement or food won't send you running to the nearest port-a-potty or give you a stomach ache.

While running, maltodextrin makes me run faster but only in one direction: to the nearest toilet. I need something more versatile. Clif makes brown rice syrup based products - I love their shot blocks - but I'm still not having enough and what little I have tends to give me a stomach ache.

It might be a matter of training myself to eat while running, so I dutifully force myself to chew. You're supposed to have three blocks per hour of running. I've managed to have two in two hours of running and I still get a stomach ache. I'm trying to figure out if I'll fare better with actual food, but the problem is carrying enough of it during runs that go over two hours which is where I am right now in my training. I'm thinking of trying olives and brazil nuts soon or maybe trying to drink my calories.

But until I figure that out, I'll stay with Clif.

I'm guessing bars and gels work better when you're doing other things like swimming or biking. I'll keep that in mind when I do a triathlon.

Doesn't that sound like fun? I love running, I love biking, and - little known fact - I'm a strong swimmer. Actually, I'm probably better at swimming than either running or biking since that's the only one where I've had formal training. My brother was a much stronger swimmer; he competed at the national level. I stuck to the regional level but I was good and my mom still has the medals to prove it.

And triathlon training just looks like a lot of fun, don't you think?

PS. Does anyone want a couple of GU energy gel packets? I won't be needing those.

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