We’ve all seen them – either at the running store or race expos. Roctane Gu. It sits there in shiny packages of blue, yellow and even orange. They LOOK fast. But, with all of the wiz bang packaging comes a price tag nearly double of an average GU – SERIOUSLY cutting into my Lady Gaga iTunes downloads. Do they work?
Since I will try anything that promises to increase performance (look for the Try it Tuesday on horse steroids next week) I finally man'd up (cowgirl’d up?) and bought a few to try.
The idea from GU is that they took their normal GU and added all sorts of big word acids and citrates that improve performance. From their site:
From there we increase the amount of histidine, an essential amino acid, to act as a buffer and slow the energy-sapping lactic acid build-up in muscles.
We mix in higher levels of citrates (potassium citrate, sodium citrate, and citric acid) to help speed the conversion of carbohydrates into energy molecules and, like histidine, help mitigate acid build-up.
We also add more of the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine to serve as another fuel source, aid in recovery and help maintain mental focus and reduce fatigue by limiting the central nervous system's production of serotonin.
Finally, we add a new ingredient, the amino acid complex Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG) which limits the body's tendency to break down muscle protein tissue during extremely hard training and racing days. OKG keeps you going longer and promotes a speedier recovery.
I tried these on my runs this weekend (12 miles) and the past weekend (20 miles). During training runs, I’ll eat a GU every 7 miles and during races I’ll down one every 5. Roctane certainly provided the normal GU boost that you are used to and honestly I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel something EXTRA special kicking in. (It was the same feeling that I get when my wife tells me I am right... Happened once - It is like July 12, 2002 all over again.) I tried all three flavors and even the non caffeine flavor seemed to give me a bit more zip in my step. Maybe those big word acids are really important after all.
- GU did a lot of research into what makes bodies tick and put in extra good stuff
- It can’t HURT performance
- GU used lots of big words on their website. Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate?? Yup, I need lots of that I think
- Honestly, the stuff tastes GOOD. I’m a huge fan of the blueberry pomegranate which tastes like blue sweet tarts
- It costs more, so it has to be better, right?
- The stuff is expensive! At nearly double the price of normal GU, depending on where you buy it, I wonder how much benefit the extra ‘stuff’ actually gives
- It still has the traditional GU consistency – thick
- For some reason I always think that they should add some sort of coloring for flavored GU. It is a bit strange for it to be clear. Afterall, who doesn’t I need more Red #5 in their life?
The verdict? Mixed. Overall I think that the extra $4 for Roctane for a marathon is worth it. I spend that on little drink umbrellas for parties. Even if the only benefit that I get is a mental one, it is still a benefit. However, for a normal 15 miler where I am just cranking out miles on a cold morning in my pajama pants and a sweatshirt (yes, I’ve done it)? Probably not. Therefore:
For races: Seal of Approval
What does everyone else think?