When I started my blog 4ish years ago, I also started reading a ton of blogs and seeing that almost every plain Jane runner was using gels/chews/etc. to help fuel them on their runs and races. I wanted to be a faster/better runner myself, so I gave it a try, and it helped dramatically. I initially started out using GUs, and that has been the main standby fuel for me throughout countless training cycles.
When I started training for marathons, and my long runs got longer and longer, my GU consumption on a run would hit 3 on 20 miler days, and this past fall, as I've slowed down, would be near 4-5. Blech. My first marathon my stomach was so wonky that I stopped taking any nutrition at mile 20, and ended up slowing to almost a crawl throughout the last 6.2 miles. Uff.
I've always wanted to experiment with different types of nutrition, but in the past few years I've either been in the heart of marathon training or not running long enough to need any nutrition. But with this spring half training cycle I'm finding some wiggle room to experiment. Most of my long runs are in the 2 hour range, so if my stomach decides to revolt, I don't have too long to suffer through.
When I was in Madison, I grabbed some Honey Stinger chews and on my last long run, and they were great. I've tried the waffle thingy before and I had to toss it. I'm super weird when it comes to food textures, so the GU chomps were a no-go too.
So while I'm experimenting, what other fuel would you recommend? I just placed an order for GUs and Honey Stinger chews, so I'll probably be set for the spring (hopefully, I spent $80 for crimmenlly's sake!) but still would like to do my experimenting this spring while I can. Marathon training starts in June. Gulp.
Edited to add: Saturday's hourly race forecast indicates that the windchill will be -15 at race time. Lol NOPE. Sorry jaseface.