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The Good, The Bad, The Gu

August 17, 2010

Alright, I admit it. I’ve ran two half marathons and I have yet to try Gu Energy Gel. The thing is, running and training are supposed to bring you the joy of eating, so why I would waste my caloric intake on slime?

When I need fuel (which for me, is 8 miles or longer), I ALWAYS turn to these:

Mmm-hmm.  Yummy Luna Moon Chews! They come in some rockin’ flavors: Pomegranate, Watermelon, and Blueberry.  I’ve tried them all and can tell you that they’re all great but I’m dedicated to Pomegranate when I can find them.  The reason I like them so much – outside of the delicious flavors – is because they remind me of gummy bears.  You see? Why would I eat slime when I could eat gummy bears?

Now, I have a few notes on these:

1. Only use them for races when the place where you’re keeping them has some temperature control. Let me explain: I brought these to one of my winter races and by the time I was getting ready to dig in at Mile 4, I nearly broke a tooth. They were frozen.  After that winter mess, I thought I was a schooled runner and I saved the packages I had left for some races in the Spring. Well, I was wrong there too because after 40 minutes of exposure to body heat, they melted. Additionally, if you’re sensitive to stuff being on your teeth, these sports chews are not for you. The temperature has to be just right for them to be chewy versus sticky or solid. However, if you can manage that little rule of temperature or you just plain don’t care (like me), then I would highly recommend these for your race fuel.

2. Assuming you’re going to go off my recommendation, I want to further advise you on how to eat them. This may sounds crazy, but trust me, it’s not. The first way we can all think of is to open the package, put one in your hand, and then put one chew in your mouth. That works.  Sometimes.  Let me tell you when it doesn’t work: When you’re running a race and someone elbows you by accident when they’re trying to pass you.  Yes.  It happened to me. Even more frustrating than being elbowed during a race was that my delicious chew fell on the ground! That got me really mad. I might have even said out loud, “Come on! Not cool! Now my candy’s on the ground!”

Anyway, it’s much more enjoyable to eat them when you can feed yourself, but if you’re working on your primal instincts, especially during a race, tear open only a corner of the package and use your teeth to SQUEEZE out a chew – one by one. If you don’t fancy gummy bears, well, this way of eating the chews is also reminiscent of taffy.

3. It’s been a while since I’ve used my moon chews, but from what I recall, 1 package = 100 calories, which is great because then you don’t have to think about splitting your fuel into portions for the race. One package equals one serving and then you’re done. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. It actually puts these chews at a slight advantage over other items on the market. For example, in a few days I’ll be reviewing some other chews. These:

While the Gu CHOMPS will get a semi-positive review, Luna Moon Chews win over CHOMPS because each package of CHOMPS is TWO servings, which is really a pain; especially when you’re mid-race and you’re trying to: run, eat, breathe, not run into somebody, pass someone on the left, look for your water stop, make a tight turn …

You get the idea. Who has time to ration?

On a final note, do you like the way that Gu starting making CHOMPS? I first started seeing them last year. Apparently I’m not the only runner who prefers candy over slime.

Happy running!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 5:24 pm

    thanks so much! i def refuse to eat slime. yuck. 🙂 i just tried powerbar gummy chews or something (LOL i actually only know that power is part of the name.) i liked them alot (strawberry banana.) my first experience with any mid-run fueling, so really excited to have some other brands to go searching for now!

    • August 17, 2010 7:44 pm

      LOL – I know those strawberry banana things and they’re going to be the object of a future not-so-good post. ha! Here’s the good news … if you liked those a lot, then you will LOVE some of the other stuff. I thought those were a little too chemical tasting; especially the “burst” of strawberry. To be fair, sometimes a batch goes terribly awry. You’ll definitely have to let me know how those compare once you’ve explored other brands. If you try the moon chews and chomps and you still think the banana chews are worthy, I’ll re-visit them. I tried them in March for the Disney Princess Half. All I remember is looking for a place to spit it out where it wouldn’t hit someone in the foot.

  2. August 19, 2010 11:43 am

    I like Clif Bloks and Sport Beans for when I need something more substantial in my stomach. Though I’m not diametrically opposed to Gu (sometimes you really do appreciate the direct-to-bloodstream hit), on long runs, something for your stomach to grab on to is nice once in a while. When I’m really hungry, particularly in the winter, I run with mini-Clif bars. Nom.

    • August 19, 2010 8:23 pm

      Note to self – Must try clik bloks. mini Clif bars = mmm. mmm. 🙂

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