Before marathon training, I never took any gels, water or fuel of any kind on long runs with me. But this minimalist mindset backfired on my first 16 mile run a few weeks back. I felt great during the run but as soon as I got in my car to drive home, I was hurting. Fortunately I made it home safely but I felt absolutely awful all night and could barely get anything in my stomach. I knew I would not make that mistake again!
Thanks to my non-runner boyfriend who bravely entered a running store and asked for “those jelly things” his girlfriend kept talking about, I have a small arsenal of training fuel (according to one of my Facebook friends: “It’s like the marathon emergency kit!”). Peering into my goodie bag of Gu’s and gummies, I decided to try out the Sport Beans by Jelly Belly on my long run this weekend.
While I was a little hesitant to try a “health” supplement produced by a candy company, I had heard good things about these from other runner friends. I threw two packets into the kangaroo pouch of my running jacket and set off in the 20 degree weather for my ten mile run.
The clickity-clacking of the jelly beans was. so. annoying. After a mile of trying to zone out and ignore the noise, I finally took one bag out of my pouch and shoved it in the elastic waistband of my tights. The one bag still made an annoying jostling noise but it was much more bearable than when there were TWO of them doing it.
At about 5 miles, we stopped for water so I took the opportunity to refuel. Thank goodness I wasn’t more tired or I don’t think I could have opened them! I think it was a mixture of fatigue and cold fingers, but it took me a solid minute to pry apart the resealable zipper.
Due to the cold weather, the jelly beans were more like hard candies so I had to pop a couple in my mouth at a time and let them thaw for a few seconds before biting into them. I tried the Fruit Punch and yum, were they tasty! True to their candy background, they were definitely sweeter than any of the other supplements I’ve tried so far.
We continued on our run and I popped a few more in my mouth whenever I felt like it. Trying to reach into the tiny opening was annoying with gloves on so I started just dumping out a handful at a time.
The packet instructs you to “Always consume with water” but, well, I didn’t. I didn’t notice any negative side effects from this other than that super sweet taste lingering in my mouth a little longer than I would have liked.
Did I feel like I had more energy? I’d say they stacked up just as well as the other things I’ve tried, no better and no worse.
Things I Liked:
- The taste! I could have happily eaten another pack as a snack to satisfy my sweet tooth.
- The flexibility. Eat one, two or five at a time… however many you think you need.
- Accessibility. I found these at the supermarket in the aisle with the protein bars and meal replacement shakes; all my other training supplements required a special trip to the running store.
- Perfect for the everyday runner. The gels can be intimidating whereas these little guys definitely keep you the closest to your comfort zone. If you’re a first-timer like me, consider Sport Beans a good way to test the waters.
Things to Consider:
- The package. If I were to use these again, I would open them ahead of time or just dump them out into another container. It was too difficult to open mid-run and the opening was too small if you wanted to just grab a couple.
- The noise! Think about how these will bounce around when you run and keep that in mind when deciding how you’re going to carry them.
- Too sweet? While it didn’t bother me much on this run, I could see these being too sweet on a longer, hotter or more intense run.
Overall they were one of the tastiest supplements I’ve had, but I wouldn’t use them again. They were more work than they were worth and seemed more like candy than something that would power me through 10 or more miles.
Want more information on Sport Beans? Check out the website.