Monday, November 23, 2009

Hammer Gel versus Sport Beans

It was my 2nd Thursday evening last week at BHS doing a 6km run. I find the route refreshing since I'd often do my practice runs here in QC. Plus, I get to invite some of my officemates to join in and maybe my runner's high might leave a mark on them. So far, the dinner after those runs took us to Tapaking and then Rufo's the following week. Hmmm, maybe I should call my Thursday run my Tapsi runs, hehe.

Anyway, I finished a 6k easy run (5 rounds around BHS) at around 42mins last Thursday. Since my officemates were still running/jogging/walking around, I decided to drop by RUNNR and do some window-shopping. It's really amazing to see so many running stuff in one store. A testament to the current running boom that has hit our country.

On the cashier's counter I saw energy gels/beans displayed. Sport Beans, my fuel of choice for about several runs/races now, was there priced at P85.00, 20 bucks more expensive versus the ones being sold at Athlete's Foot in Galleria. I guess it's the high BHS rental fee that prompted the store owners to increase the price.

To the left of the Sport Beans, I saw the Hammer Gel display. Most of the blogs I've read have talked about Hammer Gels and GU(?) whenever they race. "So eto pala yun?!" I told myself. Priced at P75.00 each, the feel of the contents are well, gel-lish. Instructions were simple: take 1 serving (1pack) every 1-2 hours of activity.

I decided to give it a try since I'm scheduled for an 18km easy run on the coming weekend. I bought 1 pack (tropical flavor).

I packed the following "supplies" for yesterday's 18k run: the Hammer Gel I bought, 1 Milo wafer bar, and the remaining pack of my Sport Beans (about 3 beans left). Water was filled up on my Nathan 1.5 and 1/2 of another bottle which I left purposely near a tree when I reached km5. The latter served as my water supply in case I ran out by the return leg which is at around km13.

I've slightly modified my easy runs for the 21k program I downloaded from the 'net such that the 1st half ran at the assigned easy pace (7:13 mpk) then the second half was ran faster (not slower than 6:45 mpk ---well, at least I tried to make it at that pace, hehehe). If you've been reading my previous posts involving runs exceeding 15-16k including my 3 half-marys, I'd always find myself gasping at the last 3kms. Doing the slight modification I made (1st half easy, 2nd half at race pace), I feel that my speed and endurance has improved. I think they call this as a "negative split" run.

So, I was able to consume my food supply throughout the run as follows:

Weight before the run: 167.6lbs

- 1/2 of the Milo bar before stretching
- 1/4 of the Milo bar at km6
- finished the entire Hammer Gel (w/ water as advised) between kms 9-10
- total water consumed: 1/2 of my total water supply

- rest of the Milo bar (1/4) and a bottle of Gatorade upon reaching home
- Sport Beans were not eaten

Weight after the run: 165.0lbs (Haaay, yes. This a great benefit of a long run. 1,400kcal burned! Wow! Nokia GPS stats can be found here)

Going back to the Hammer Gel, well I have to admit: it was beneficial. Normally after km15, I'd start to get hungry. But since I finished the gel, I felt full after that. I even had to remind myself to take water since I seldom felt thirsty which was unusual for me when I'm in kms13-15 of a run.

First 9kms was timed at 1:04. Second 9kms was at 58:51(!). Total time was 2:02:55.

Well, I can't fully say the Hammer Gel alone helped since I also had the Milo bar ---and a more improved me as well(?) hehehehe. I guess I have to try it again on another long run to see if it alone will still produce good results which is next Sunday's NB 21k.

Comparing it to Sport Beans, the Hammer Gel can be taken in one shot whereas the Sport Beans you just need to consume 1-2 beans every now and then (30mins ideally). There are pros and cons of the latter since it spreads out the fuel but then you have to remind yourself to take it at a recommended time ---an additional chore that you don't need to do if you're in a race. The Sport Beans has no "kick-start" effect compared to the Hammer Gel probably since the latter has 25mg of caffeine (the Sport Beans has another flavor sold with caffeine as well which could prove comparable to Hammer Gel's kick. But I guess I have to try that some other time).

In terms of availability, I was only able to find Hammer Gel at RUNNR. Sport Beans are sold in RUNNR and Athlete's Foot. Sport Beans are cheaper by P10.00 as I've mentioned earlier. Both Hammer Gel and Sport Beans come in a variety of flavors.

I still have to try diced hopia which I read on another blog proved good as well.

So, what's YOUR fuel of choice?


  1. to be honest, i couldn't believe that you use sport beans for fuel. i guess i just couldn't trust something that could be bought from a candy store. and i don't think any professional athlete does either. but to each his own i guess. personally i use energy gels, but GU instead of Hammer.

  2. hi wilson. yup I've been using it for some time now. that was the only available option for me (aside from choco bars and bananas) since Hammer and GU is not available here in Galleria.

    in terms of athletes, well meron naman daw sabi sa (or I guess they were forced to take it since sponsor sila).

    pero I might switch to Hammer since I found its performance to be quite good.