I mentioned the other week that I was trying Generation UCAN on my longer runs. The idea is to take a serving 30 minutes before the run and then another mid-run, if longer than two hours, and a third (one of the protein mixes) when you finish. I chose the Tropical Orange. I drank a glass before my long runs (including both my successful 17 miler and my failure of an 18 miler). I also made a super concentrated mix (with 3 oz of water) and bagged it up so I could take it mid-run. I’ll be honest, the flavor and texture is rough. Using very cold water helped but I can see that being a problem for a lot of people. On the plus side, I did not get an upset stomach from it, not even cramps. My stomach was growling towards the end of my run but I didn’t feel like I was flagging too much. I felt like I got a little boost of energy right after I took it but didn’t really notice a major change during the run. It wasn’t really bad but I’m not sure it was worth the $2 per service price.
For comparison, I ran my long run with my “old standby”. I had my pumpkin porridge (recipe below) and a cup of coffee about an hour before my run. I then ate 1/4 of a Bonk Breaker every so often after mile 8. I had raisins with me but didn’t use them. I forgot my raw honey (Trader Joe’s raw honey is super thick. I usually just spoon it into a snack size baggie and then bite the corner off when I need it. It’s especially helpful if I start coughing or my throat is bothering me during a run). I had a banana and packet of Justin’s Honey Almond butter waiting at the finish. I also took two Endurolyte tabs from Hammer Nutrition about half way through. I would have taken more if it had been warmer. I drank plain water. Bottom line, I felt great! I had no energy problems. I had no stomach problems. I did not have a headache at the end. I was hungry when I finished but my stomach wasn’t growling mid-way through.
For cost, taste, and convenience sake, I’m sticking with my tried and true method. I might use UCAN on long bike rides but for runs, I definitely prefer real food.
Pumpkin Porridge (serves 3)
1 can of plain pumpkin
3 ripe bananas
2 Tbsp crunchy almond butter
1 tsp Pumpkin pie seasoning or cinnamon and nutmeg
Mash it all together and cook over low heat until it is thick. The consistency will depend on how much almond butter you use.
Top with nuts and dried fruit (I like walnuts and golden raisins, sometimes shredded coconut).