Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cliff gels?

D - Ran 6 miles 55:30

The 6 mile run today went exceptionally well in my book. I'm really hoping I can crank out an average pace of 8:15 per mile during my next half-marathon, so I set my goal splits today for 9:15 (one minute above pacing). Despite being a bit groggy I was dead on my splits that I managed to check in on, and it worked out to the second for the total time.

Some of you may know that C tries to avoid caffeine in forms other than tea (most notably her addiction to tall non-fat chai tea lattes at Starbucks). This extends to finding energy gels that are not caffeinated. At first I thought this would be as simple as not grabbing double espresso flavored ones, but we've come to learn that you can even find caffeine in orange, tri-berry and just about any flavor. So yesterday when I was at REI (something I am lucky enough to be able to do on my lunch breaks) I noticed that for once the discounted gels were a regular, caffeine free (raspberry) flavor!
For those of you that haven't tried training with gels yet, start. Especially the first time you're attempting a longer distance, or are pushing that 12 mile run just a bit faster than normal, it makes the run more tolerable, and the recovery that much faster. It's also a great way to get used to the mechanics of eating them (carefully and thoroughly squeeze the gel out of the top portion before you open it) and to try different flavors before race day.

As great as the gels are, they can get to be a bit expensive. A great way to save on them is to check out your local REI. Every month the one by me puts out a selection of gels and energy bars for less than a dollar (75-83 cents a piece). This month was a small selection of Cliff brand gels. I tried out the double espresso this morning. The consistency was more towards liquid than solid (GU brand can be hard to swallow), so it goes down easy. The flavor was that of a espresso mocha. And the caffeine kicked in right away.

The best part of Cliff brand is that when you rip the top off it has a little anchor to keep it attached to the package. No more keeping track of the top (or inadvertently littering). Of course, it doesn't work if you open it from the wrong side, but I know for next time!

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