If you are working on a PR in a 5k, 10k, or half marathon then you will want to educate yourself concerning power bars and energy gels. Below are excerpts from two articles that you will find of interest.
You will be required to do a free subscription to Financial Times to read the full Running The Energy Race article. The article is about the history of PowerBar, Clif Bar, and GU and their power bars and energy gel products.
Running The Energy Race by David Gelles
“It was the early 1980s, and Brian Maxwell, the track coach at the University of California, Berkeley, was having trouble finishing his marathons. Although he was a former Olympic marathoner for Canada, Maxwell was finding his body was depleted of energy by mile 21 – what runners call “hitting the wall”.
So he began experimenting in his kitchen. With his girlfriend at the time and a colleague from UC Berkeley, Maxwell concocted a snack bar he hoped would help him combat extreme exertion. They cooked up a blend of oats, rice, nuts and sugar – an ideal mix of simple and complex carbohydrates – that was easy to digest and relatively tasty.
After perfecting the recipe, they pooled their savings and founded PowerBar in 1986. It was the first energy bar, and it inspired an industry that today is worth more than $500m (€340m, £315m) annually.”
The following is from a Guide To Sports Drinks And Gels published by Running Times.
Guide To Sports Drinks And Gels by Suzanne Girard Eberle
“For PR-seeking runners, sports drinks and energy gels can be a quick-and-easy way to hydrate and refuel on the fly. Supplying fluid, carbohydrate (the body’s preferred fuel during exercise) and electrolytes, sports drinks and gels should be an integral part of any runner’s nutrition program…
During long races, such as half-marathons and marathons, it’s imperative that competitors drink a sodium-containing beverage to avoid the potentially life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia (low blood sodium level). Middle and back-of-the pack runners should especially rely on a sports drink rather than drinking plain water. Running at a slower pace often translates into more opportunities to drink. This can result in a dangerous disturbance of the body’s fluid-to-sodium ratio if a runner ingests copious amounts of plain water without also attending to sweat-induced sodium losses…
Consistently consuming carbohydrate (at least one-half gram per pound of body weight) within 30 minutes of finishing exercise helps to facilitate muscle glycogen replenishment and reduce stress on the immune system. Recent research suggests that ingesting a small amount of protein post-exercise can further aid in recovery.”