I was asked this recently by one of my runners who’s getting ready for her first marathon. I’ve tried quite a few different products such as Gus, Power Gels, Shot Blocks. My favorite products for training and ultramarathons tend to be more towards actual foods, such as pretzels or bananas or gummy bears, things like that.
But when I’m actually in a marathon, I like a specific gel product made by Crank Sports. There are 2 reasons that I like them better than anything else and that is because they tend to have more calories and none of their products have any caffeine in them, which is something I tend to avoid.
Here’s a video that shows what I just got in my latest order of Crank:
If this doesn’t prove I actually use the product, I don’t know what will!
Crank has 4 different flavors, and each case has 32 gels per case. The packets are a little bit larger than what your average gel packet will be because they have half again as many calories. This doesn’t really bother me. I wear race ready shorts and they fit into the mesh pockets really well, so they’re pretty easy for me to carry. I’ll usually take 4 to 5 of them with me during a marathon, and I might eat between 3 and all 5 of them during the race.
I like to eat them by biting the tab off as I’m coming up to a water station. I take out as much of the gel as I easily can, usually by biting half way through the packet and pulling my teeth along the outside. That will get most of it out of the packet, and since it does have 150 calories I don’t care if I don’t quite get everything that’s in the packet.
Another product that Crank makes that I just started using, the first time I placed an order they actually sent me a couple of trials versions of their e-Fuel, which is more like a pre-made drink mix. You just mix this in with 20 ounces of water and it creates a liquid, as opposed to taking in a gel while you’re running.
This is a bit more inconvenient while you’re actually competing unless your carrying a camel-back or your own water bottle, but in a loop race (such as the Great Cranberry Island 50K which is where I actually got around to finally using one of these after a few years) it works out really well because you are able to just stop and take a sip whenever you pass your drop bag. Each one of these packets is 1 water bottle full, and that’s nutritionally equivalent to 3 of the actual gel packets.
When you order a case of them, it also comes with a water bottle if you need one.
If you are looking for your next product that you want to try, I recommend giving the Crank e-Gels or the e-Fuel a test. They work for me, but make sure you test any nutritional product in a long run before hand because you just need to find the one that works for you. There are a lot of great products out there, of which Crank is just one.
Have you ever tried Crank before? If so leave a comment below and let me know whether you liked it or not. And if you have a different product that you prefer, leave a comment letting me know what that is and we’ll see what you think and what you’ve tried and what works for everybody. Maybe there’ll be something on there I haven’t tried before that I can order up and test for myself.