Thursday, February 10, 2011

Clif Shot Gel

I think the most common question I get about my running is: "What do you eat when you run?" For me I like to keep it really simple. Sometimes on longer training runs I'll go for more of a variety, including some solid foods, but in my races, and in most of my training runs I like to get virtually all of my calories from gels. They're really easy to get down; they're easy to track caloric consumption; and they seem to get into my body and address energy needs quicker than anything else.

I've tried just about every brand and flavor of gel over the years. I've had a few that have rotated through as favorites, but the one that has stuck around as a favorite and come to make up almost all of my calories consumed during running is Clif Shot Gel. They are the only ones that I don't get really sick of if I use them day in and day out. If you haven't tried Clif Gels in awhile I highly recommend it. Last fall they switched to a new recipe, switching from Brown Rice Syrup to a Maltodextrin/Cane Sugar combo. In my opinion the new Clif Gels are the best gels on the market if you want something that you can eat dozens of and not get really burnt out on them. A few of the flavors are not as good as others, but I have 3 flavors (Citrus, Vanilla, and Strawberry) that I probably consume an average of 10 a week and have not gotten sick of at all.

17 comments:

Holly Vipond said...

how many gels would you take in a 100 mile race? I can't imagine not getting sick of them!! And no solid food in a race?

(I love Clif shots too, and also the shot bloks!)

Geoff said...

I aim for 3 gels per hour. if you do the math that adds up to a whole lot in a 100 miler.

Holly Vipond said...

No kidding, that is a LOT of gels!! You must have an iron stomach. :)

Will Thomas said...

Thanks for the bringing up the the recipe change. I had a hard time stomaching the brown rice syrup. I'll have to give Cliff Gels a 2nd chance.

Will said...

Never liked the flavor of Cliff gels. But I'll give them a "shot" with the new recipe. What about protein during long training runs or races?

Derrick said...

Did not know about the recipe change either. Good to know.

Curious...Any particular attention paid to caffeine gels vs without in your race day rotation?

Fixated on the Trail said...

I've tried pretty much them all (GU, PowerGel, Clif). The list goes on and on. However, Honey Stinger seems the way to go for me. From gels, to Organic energy chews, to the Waffle. Now those are the best. 3 gels an hour sounds about right though, but for slower guys like me, I need a snickers or a potato every now and then to give the stomach a break.

FastED said...

have you tried First Endurance EFS liquid shot? 100 grams of CHO/5oz in the form of mostly dextrose and sucrose. Electrolytes and aa's to boot. The biggest draw back is that it comes in a large 5oz flask. To work around this I've started to add the liquid shot to one of my water bottles so that I can hold two bottles in longer races.

Eric B said...

Thanks Geoff,
I've using GU this winter. I just happen to be out of them and was headed to the running store later today to get more. I will give the Clif shot a shot and see how they work with me this weekend. Also that's great info about consuming 3of them an hour in a race. Stuff like that is why I always tune in to your blog.

pimaCanyon said...

Great info re the shot, especially re the recipe change.

I had tried Cliff Shot in the past but it didn't sit as well in my stomach as GU. So Gu's been my mainstay.

But now that they've stopped using the rice syrup, I'll give them another try.

My favorite GU is Vanilla Bean, but I can do only one or two of those in a day because of the caffeine, so it will be nice to have some non-caffeinated stuff as well.

Geoff said...

derrick,
I tend to do about half and half in terms of caffeine or not... but not really too particular about it.

dirk smathers said...

Thanks for the info Geoff. I have a followup question though - what is your caloric intake during regular training runs? I remember Anton saying something about trying to go without food as much as possible during training but during racing getting around 200-300 calories per hour. Thanks-

Geoff said...

dirk,
great question. i could probably write an entire post about this question. some people (like anton) prefer to limit their caloric intake during training to get their bodies used to performing with less than ideal amounts of calories in their system. I however take the total opposite approach. I like to eat as much as possible during training to get my body used to processing that much food while on the go. I eat on almost every training run I do... usually the same amount: about 300 calories per hour.
neither of these methods is "better" than the other, just play around with this and see what your body seems to like better.

Seth Kelly said...

I always found Clif Shot gels pretty average for me (I have been a Hammer gel kind of guy), but I will certainly try out the new recipe (I was unaware). I am a little bummed they did away with the Apple Pie flavor.

Wonder if they will come out with more flavors as they further develop the new recipe? I count 8 including the turbo gels. This isn't a small amount, however Gu has 10 flavors plus 4 roctane flavors.

I am a HUGE fan of the Shot Bloks. Clif is an awesome company in general.

Speedgoat Karl said...

I, too run on primarily race fuel while training, 300 calories per hour. Geoff and I get so used to it, late in 100s, gel still tastes good. And I feel it's more effective for training if you have the energy to burn instead of burning fuel from the wrong source.

Davin said...

As for worst gel flavor, I think that that PowerBar vanilla and Hammer Gel plain could have a righteous duel. PowerBar vanilla=a person who had heard of a flavor called vanilla describes that flavor to an alien, and the alien tried to replicate "vanilla." Hammer Gel plain=Elmer's Glue, flatout.

Will said...

I tried Clif Shots 6 or 7 years ago and was definitely not a fan. But recently I had heard good things and decided to give them another shot.

The new recipe really is MUCH better. I prefer Clif Shots to Powergels or GUs by a wide margin.

But I'm personally more of a Clif Block guy, and my gel of choice is still E-gel. E-gel is used a lot by triathletes but hasn't seemed to make it to the ultrarunning world yet.