Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Honey Stingers and Nathan Quickshot Plus

I'm at a point in my training where I'm running around an hour and that very training scheduled will be taking me beyond an hour without turning back.  A lot of my fellow runners have mentioned energy chews and of course there is a plethora of information on the web about the popular ones (Gu gel, Clif shot bloks, Gatorade, etc).  But at the end of the day, you just gotta go out and fork out a few bucks to try them.  So here is my first whack at running fuel - Honey Stingers.

I'm a fan of cherry flavored anything but many reviewers said that this tasted like cough medicine.  It definitely smells like it (sans eucalyptus-menthol) when you open the bag but I sorta like that smell.  The bag itself is kinda bulky (you can barely see my hand hiding behind the package) but it was very easy to open and can easily fold up to take up less space.

And now the taste test!  It is very much your standard cherry flavored gummy - I can see how some feel that it is reminiscent of cough medicine without the eucalyptus but just hardly.  It's very soft but not as chewy as a gummy bear; once you bite through, the chew it split in half.  Chew it a few times and you'll have a bunch of little gooey chunks in your mouth.  It didn't leave a funny after taste or residue in my mouth.

I tried two chews before my Saturday morning run and I felt great!  I'm not really sure if that should be credited to my training or the energy chews but I'll take both at the moment and call it a win-win.  A big complaint for runners is that you have to consume 4-5 of these babies an hour to get the proper fuel.  That's definitely a lot to stomach but if they taste good, why not?  Also, these little guys are organic which is a huge bonus.  My next product try will be Clif shot bloks so hopefully I'll have more to compare it to in the coming weeks.

Summary:  4/5 on taste, 5/5 on texture, 4/5 on energy boost

Following the same idea of "what do I do as my runs are getting longer...." I decided to test drive some hydration products by Nathan.  I don't drink much while running (I don't drink much water at all) but I know that there is a major difference in walking down to Andersonville vs. running 8 miles on a 90 degree day.  So here is the Nathan Quickshot Plus.

I have fairly small hands and as you can see from the photo, this bottle is rather small and that's exactly what I was looking for!  I wanted something for quench my thirst or boost my energy but didn't want to carry around a 20 oz bottle (Nathan does have larger containers if that's more of what you need).  This handy little guy holds about 8-10 oz and has an easy spout - just give it a squeeze and a little burst of water comes out.  It also has a little pouch; it's not big enough to store your phone but it can hold your keys and gels/chomps/bloks/etc.  

I thought the strap would be cumbersome at first but it really does work well once you get it adjusted to the size of your hand.  I didn't think I'd like the thumb hole either but after a half mile into my run, I had completely forgotten that it was in my hand!  The security of the thumb strap definitely helped.

So I finally took this out last week on a 6.8 mile run in 55 degree weather.  It was definitely nice having some water to sip on and a place to store my chews.  I filled it up all the way and barely noticed that it was strapped to my hand.  Winner all around!

And look at that AWESOME reflective material!

Summary: 5/5 on feel and comfort, 5/5 on purpose and usefulness, 4/5 on design (it is really hard to get the water bottle back into the harness!)

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