Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Try it Tuesday: Roctane GU


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.

Pros:
  • 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?

Cons:
  • 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

For every day long runs: Fail whale eating Seal of Approval


What does everyone else think?

20 comments:

GeorgiaSnail said...

could not agree more...I have a fever and the only perscription is more red # 5....

Morgan said...

I'm just not a Gu fan over all, I use the PowerBar gels. The Gu's are too thick of consistancy for me. Great review though... :)

Mike Russell said...

I quit gels all together. I use Infinit exclusively for all my rides/runs over 90 minutes. If my ride or run is less than the magical 90 minutes, I go with water. Why 90 minutes? I just picked the number out of the air...

Jamoosh said...

Most gels are a little hard on my stomach so I just stick with Hammer Gel which works just fine...for me.

ShutUpandRun said...

I can't do the thick stuff. But it is funny that we think $4 is outrageous for a gu, but ask me to pay $20 for a martini in Vegas and I'm there.

aron said...

i am not a fan of roctane... i know a lot of people who like it but it doesnt sit that well with me. i will stick to my regular gu!

OhMyLaughter said...

I've never tried this more expensive GU, but it sounds worth trying...

More importantly, can you try more products you only like for race day so the Fail Whale eating the Seal of Approval returns?! Thanks!

Pam F. said...

I guess I'm gonna have to break down and try some of these gel things. Seems like that's what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Rio said...

I've tried it and like the Pineapple flavor. However, as far as comparison to regular Gu- it didn't make much of a difference to me. Although I like Hammer gels best so far because it doesn't affect my tummy if I inadvertently take it with a sports drink.

Colin Hayes said...

I have yet to try the Roctane. Probably will test it out. I'm also fan of Hammer products (gels and Heed), but for those who don't like the thickness of Gu, I squeeze a few packets into my gel flask and add a little water, then shake it up. Seems to dilute it just enough.

Julie said...

Hi Adam,
Maybe I need to start using the Gu...perhaps not taking the Gu for fuel is the reason my half time sucks so bad:) Thanks for the review!!

RE: E-mail...I did e-mail you today. Let me know if you got it...I sent it at like 3PM:)

X-Country2 said...

The clear freaks me out too. I can't get past it. Hammer Gel fo life!

The Sean said...

I use Gu and Cliff Shots, I like their thickness as it is almost chewable. That seems nice in the cold weather...

Have not tried Roctane but was thinking about adding some to the gas tank for a mileage boost. I will let you know...

RunningLaur said...

I love Roctane, but I agree that it's best for key runs and/or races

Glenn Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn Jones said...

I prefer Hammer Gel . The consistency is a little more liquid and goes down easier that the gooey Gu. Also, the tropical and espresso flvors contain caffiene - a known (and legal) performance booster. They worked especially well last summer when I was backpacking and needed a quick boost to get me over the last 500 vertical feet to our camp. After that I was hooked and haven't been back to Gu since.

BrianFlash said...

Roctane isn't worth the extra money in my opinion. Heck - even the regular gels aren't worth the money but there is a lack of competition out there.

I suppliment my limited gel intake with with fun sized candy bars, fruit, salty snacks, and whatever else the race organizers give out...

RunnuRMark said...

all ya need is some jelly beans and gatorade, yo! I am a fan of the clif shot bloks though. They taste great, are calorie dense for the money, and are the easiest thing to eat while running in my opinion.

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Thanks for being the tester. I may give it a try now.

Laura said...

I like Roctane, but I never pick based on performance (I never notice much of a difference); I just like the flavors. However, I haven't bought Gu in months... I usually just get it from tables at races and save one or two for next time :)