Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran runner, nutrition is important. But deciding on how to take in your calories and carbohydrates on those long runs can be a difficult decision - with so many options, it can be hard to weed through it all. Here’s a quick rundown of energy gels, chews, and bars.
Gels have long been a runner’s go to for nutrition on long runs. They come in tons of flavors and the packaging makes them easy to consume and then tuck away. You’ll get the benefits of glycogen being replenished quickly (therefore giving you a boost of energy), but that also means that timing is a little more important with gels. Another downside is that gels can be thick and hard to swallow. You’re supposed to take them with water anyway, but the consistency can be tough for some runners to get down.
Chews are a little newer on the market, but come in a variety of flavors and textures. They range from chewy blocks to gummy bears to jelly beans. Much like gels, they can be tough to chew up while you’re running, but are also great for getting into your system quickly.
Energy bars come in so many different flavors and types that you’ll probably be able to find something you like no matter how picky you might be. You’ll want to focus on bars designed for endurance workouts or activities and give you long-lasting energy vs. protein or meal replacement bars that are more likely to sit in your stomach. These are going to take up more space and can take longer to consume. They will also give you more consistent energy instead of a quick boost.
Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference, so try a couple different ones on training runs and see what works best for you!