To support themselves during a run, some runners prefer to sip high-carbohydrate gels, while others munch on a bar. Obviously a lot will also depend on the route, altitude and length of the race, but in general, getting your fill of energy to run races or long training sessions is important to better manage the race.

Mid-run snack
Don't get us wrong, not everyone needs to recharge during a run. Usually the glycogen stored in the muscles is sufficient to allow the body to run for an hour without problems. However, when it comes to races that last more than an hour, such as half marathons or marathons, it is important to provide the body with the means to produce energy to help it function at its best.

How often is it necessary to recharge energy?
Usually the advice is to adjust based on the km traveled, about every 10 km or alternatively based on the time, more or less every 50min. A problem that should not be underestimated can be represented by intestinal tension or digestive discomfort. This can be caused by consuming too many high carbohydrate, caffeine and fructose snacks while running. During the run, to conserve precious energy, the functioning of the stomach is considerably slowed down. That's why it's not unusual to see runners throwing up at the end of a race right after eating something.

Energy bars
Energy bars can usually contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats and micronutrients. There is a great variety on the market with different functions and benefits depending on whether they are consumed before, during or after physical activity.

Benefits: If you love to eat, the bars might be for you. The choice of flavors is much wider as well as the ingredients and nutritional content. I recommend a good mix of carbohydrate component and oily fruit (dried fruit and dried fruit), such as our Energetika or Nuts Bar. Many contain proteins which, even if they are not strictly necessary to produce energy during a run, can favor the process of recovery.

Disadvantages: Unlike gels, energy bars tend to melt in the heat and become very hard in the cold. During a competition, no one wants to get their hands dirty with a half-melted bar in their pocket or struggle to eat a bar as hard as marble, doing so would risk losing concentration. Finally, it is important to point out that an energy bar is not able to hydrate as much as gels (already containing water like our UltraRace).

The gels
Energy gels are a type of supplement useful for restoring the carbohydrate reserves that have been burned during a run. Each sachet of gel is composed of a specific carbohydrate formula that allows the athlete to manage the effort, in certain cases these gels can be enriched with other elements such as BCAA, Caffeine and Taurine.

Benefits: Gels provide more energy per product than energy bars or drinks. In addition, they are also more comfortable thanks to the small pouches that can be kept both in the pouch and in your pocket. Another point in favor is certainly the wide choice of flavors to choose from based on the characteristics. Being a gel then you don't even have to worry about it crumbling or becoming mushy and inedible or melting in the heat. Gels are a great way to give yourself a shock when you feel weak and a bit foggy towards the end of a long run.

Disadvantages: Concentrated gels are not for all athletes, in fact some runners complain of cramps, nausea and abdominal bloating when consuming these types of supplements. Gels that do not require the addition of water, such as our Ultrarace, are optimal because they allow rapid gastric emptying being in isotonic formulation.

Dr. Andrea Zonza, Nutritionist Biologist