Nutrition - I hate sweet things!!

Just finished the GNR (brilliant day again!) but nearly passed out on the massage table, it seems because I didn't take on enough energy during or refuel well enough immediately afterwards. I know what I NEED to do but I don't like sweet stuff in real life and eating or drinking it makes me feel *really* sick when I'm running and I'll make any excuses to avoid it! I don't think that cheese and onion crisps or pork scratchings do the trick and although I could probably manage a banana I can't see myself running with one in each hand..... Any suggestions on non sweet stuff that would help?


  • During the race, how about pretzels - especially the mini ones that you can get in small bags? After the race is easier because you don't have to worry about portability - mini peperamis are good, although they look disturbingly like severed fingers, but if you can get over that, they're fine. No harm in crisps after the race either - sometimes that's just what you need. How about sandwiches with non-sweet fillings (cheese, marmite, whatever)?

  • Love the idea of pretzels - (idiot question alert ) - with them not being sugary would they stil work as well?
  • Yes, a calorie's still a calorie, and a gramme of carbs is still a gramme of carbs, whether it comes from sugar or elsewhere. A small bag of pretzels gives you about 100 calories (I've just checked), which is roughly equivalent to some of the gel packets you'll get. You'll find that ultrarunners often eat non-sweet things for exactly the reasons you give - sometimes you just can't face sweet stuff, especially if you're doing longer distances. For a half marathon, you probably don't need much on the run anyway, just make sure you're properly fuelled up before you go, and eat soon afterwards. It's all about what experimenting with what suits you.

    And I do know someone who carried a pork pie all the way round a 30 mile race, and ate it at the end. image

  • Haha that's cheered me up no end! All I need now is one of those little stretchy pouch belts and a party pack of mini pork pies image) thanks!
  • It's true that a calorie is a calorie, but where carbs are concerned then the different chemical structures do make a difference to how they are utilised. So a complex carbohydrate such as that found in grains will take longer to be metabolised than a glucose gel, which is a simple monosaccharide. The latter is available as a fuel source far more rapidly than the former, so you can't simply switch from one to the other and expect the same results.

    In order for your body to have the necessary time to make the fuel available to the muscles, you'd have to eat something like pretzels earlier into the run than you would a gel. Ultimately it would have the same effect, but the time scale is different. I'd also say that pretzels can be quite dry, so make sure you have some water handy to avoid coughing on bits of pretzel!



  • This is as I suspected dammit!  I'll give the pretzels a try because I have to be stopped from eating them in normal circumstances so no hardship there at any point of the race and I try to drink a lot of water anyway.  Are there any gels that aren't sweet?  I'm not optimistic about finding a marmite flavoured one but a neutral ish one would be good.....

    (You're right, coughing not a good idea... as a woman of a certain age, coughing at the same time as concentrating on anything else, leads to disastrous consequences, as I found out on Sunday....)

  • I remember being given some very neutral-ish gels at a race once. Didn't think much of them as I'm the sort of peerson that loves the sticky chocolate GU ones, but you might prefer it. I think it was USN Vooma-Gel, the sort that comes in a tube like toothpaste.
    Can't find them online though so perhaps they're not being produced any more image 

  • Hmmm  -  I think I'm going to do a bit of research on this if there's one out there.....  Thanks image


  • Clif do an espresso gel that does taste just like goopy coffee. it's sweet, but the coffee taste masks the sweetness.

    I'm now thinking about Plumpy'nut. It's a peanut paste that comes in squeezy packs, and it's mostly used to keep severely malnourished famine victim kids alive. I wonder if it's available to buy the way Complan and Fortisip are...

  • I don't know where you can get it from, but there's this image

  • Wow!!  I've just been on the website and you can order online  -  amazing  image  plus it means that I can pretend I'm an 'endurance athlete' because that's what the advert says!

    Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    Stumbled across the ones I was referring to in my last post

  • Brilliant!  Many thanks  image


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