Monday, 18 July 2011

Rest Day Review: High5 Isogel with Caffeine

Now that my long runs have hit 10 miles (and will continue to get longer these next few weeks) I've started using gels again. Since it's been about a year since I last did long runs, I figured it was a good time to start testing what I should use for the big race day in Dublin.

The first gel I ever tried was the SIS GO Gel in blackcurrant. Happily running along I ripped off the top, put the packet into my mouth, gave it a big squeeze....and almost choked! I was expecting something like a lightly flavored blackcurrant jelly, but it was just a super thick, very sweet goop. After the initial shock it took me a long time to get the rest of the gel down, and by the time I drank enough water all I felt was a very big weight in my stomach! Luckily it didn't make me sick, and with practice I learned to take the gels more slowly and I used the GO gels during my first half-marathon.

Since then I've continued to try new products in a quest for the perfect gel. Like most people I want a gel that is:
  • Not too thick (so it goes down easy and doesn't make me feel full)
  • Tastes good, eg not too sweet
  • Doesn't have any adverse side effects
On my long run yesterday I decided to try the High5 Isogel with caffeine. I was excited to give it a go because it was supposed to be more like a liquid and best of all, you could take it without water! No trying more trying to gulp down both the gel and 150 ml of water, too!
Since I was doing a 10 mile run I decided just to use 1 IsoGel and take it at the halfway point. I ended up taking the gel just before I got to mile 5. It took two pulls to take the tab off (the first attempt left it dangling at the end) but thought this was similar to other gel packets (of course, it could just be me). I put the packet to my mouth and very slowly squeezed not know what to suspect, and was very happy to find that not only was it more like a liquid--it WAS a liquid! It was like drinking juice from a packet and I was able to get in down in just a few gulps. Packaging worked well and even through the IsoGel was so thin, I didn't get it everywhere and had no problems handling it. I had the Citrus flavor, and it was nicely tart and not at all sweet. It was very much like drinking lemonade!

Since IsoGel touted the fact you did not have to take it with water, I didn't. I had an initial psychological boost, but I didn't really feel it kick in until about 15-20 minutes after I took it (around 6.75 miles). After that I felt like my energy levels stayed high until the end of my run. Next time I would probably take it a little bit earlier, and time it to when I'd like to feel the benefit.

The IsoGel Citrus flavor is the only one with caffeine, and I decided to try it after reading a few articles on how caffeine can improve athletic performance. Since I'm a tea and coffee drinker I wasn't worried about side effects, but I'm not sure I felt a real difference compared to a gel without caffeine. I did feel a little bit sharper after I took the gel, but that could have been a placebo effect. I will try the non-caffeine IsoGel next week to see if I feel a difference.

I had no stomach issues at all with the IsoGel. Listed below--the nutritional info and ingredients:

Nutritional information per 60 ml sachet of High 5 Isogel -
Energy - 88kcal
Protein - 0g
Carbohydrate - 22g
Fat - Trace
Fibre - Trace
Sodium - 0.03g

High 5 IsoGel Plus Citrus
Water, Maltodextrin, Glucose, Fruit Juice 10% (Lemon, Orange), Sea Salt, Caffeine, Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate)

Overall, I really liked the IsoGel--not only did it taste good, but the fact that it's a liquid and doesn't require water was a big plus for me. I know that every runner is different but if you struggle with the thickness of gels then would recommend giving the High5 IsoGel a try!

I'm always interested in learning about new products so please do share your favorite gels!


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