Five Popular MidRace Fuel Choices

By on June 11, 2013

You could talk to 20 people and get 20 different responses on what people like to use as fuel during races. We are going to cover the five most popular items people use when doing strenuous activity like an obstacle race. To best way to find out what works for you is to try different types of fuel on your training runs.

Gel Packs – There are many brands out on the market for gel packs. These include Gu Energy Gel, Clif Shot, PowerBar Performance Energy Gel, and Hammer Gel. Gels come in many different flavors and can have caffeine or not. There are some brands that even have a sugar free option. The Gel Packs are easy to carry in your pocket, on a fuel belt, or tucked into a sports bra.

Blocks/Beans – Energy blocks and beans are essentially the same thing. The block package is similar to that of a candy bar, and it made up of six pieces that can be broken off and eaten at different times during your run. The consistency is very similar to a slightly hard gummy bear and have a good taste. They tend to stick to your teeth, so you may be sucking the block off your teeth for the next quarter mile. Beans are jelly beans that contain carbs and electrolytes that will help replenish your body to keep you going. They come in small packages and come in different flavors.

Energy Drinks – Some people will use electrolyte and sodium enriched drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade during their run. These will help the body maintain fluid and may help reduce cramping. Some people rely solely on what the race provides at their water stations, or carry electrolyte infused drinks in a Camelbak.

Energy Bars – There are literally hundreds of bars on the market. Some popular brands are Clif, Luna and PowerBar. With so many choices, just like the gels, you should try different ones during your training to see which one gives you the most benefit. These can be tucked into a pocket or fuel belt for easy storage. Some of the bars carry a lot of calories, so if you are watching your calorie intake make sure you read the labels. Unfortunately some bars are no better for you than eating a regular candy bar.

Oranges/Bananas – So far the previous choices have all been scientifically engineered to provide you the nutrients your body needs during long strenuous runs. So you may be surprise to see something as simple as oranges and bananas on the list. But why mess with nature? Bananas are nature’s energy food. They offer quick carbs and contain a large amount of water. They contain magnesium and potassium which are electrolytes that are lost when you sweat. Oranges as well have potassium with helps the body replenish what was sweated out.

No matter what you choice you choose to make it is important to pair it with an adequate amount of water. You don’t your fuel to just sit in your stomach like a rock, so the water will help your body absorb its nutrients.

There is no one thing that works better than others. Find what’s right for you. It may even be a combination of these that helps you get through your next race. Is there something different that you use to get you through the race? Share your tips with other readers!

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About Laurie Hale

Laurie hosts a podcast with her husband called Getting Dirty with Daniel and Laurie. It is a bi-weekly podcast that focusing on the ins and outs of obstacle racing, interviews with race directors and tips and tricks to get you on your way to participating in your first obstacle race.

You can also catch up with Laurie at the Getting Dirty Blog where she writes about her obstacle race journey and other fun things related to obstacle racing.