On the morning of the Baltimore Half Marathon, our training hosts had a veritable smorgasbord of gels, chews, and other fuel available for us. Being the ever-vigilant runner, I opted not to try anything new on race day, but grabbed a few items for later. One of them was Hammer Gel.
I have been a long-time Gu user – it’s admittedly not the most appetizing thing I’ve ever ingested, but it does its job well and has never let me down. My only complaint with it is that it can be a bit difficult to get down. Texture withstanding, it’s thick, and when you’re in the middle of a hot race and your mouth is getting dry, that thick texture can be a bit of a burden, no matter how much water you have to go with it. This is particularly problematic if you’re gunning for a PR and don’t want to slow to a walk to get the packet down.
When I went out for my long run on Sunday, I decided to try out one of the Hammer gel packs that’s been mingling with my Gus for a while. The packet is a bit bigger, but not substantially so. The gel itself was thinner than Gu, making it easier to get down, and not as brightly colored. The flavor isn’t as intense, though, which was a bit disappointing but not a deal breaker. My only real “complaint” about Hammer is that you can’t squeeze the tab back into the gel pack opening for easy trash disposal.
For a run of 7 miles I typically only have one packet before I head out, and Hammer served me well on the run. I never had a lack of energy or felt like I was verging on fatigue. Unlike Gu, I didn’t seem to be burping quite as much in the minutes after taking the Hammer gel.
Verdict: I have one more packet which I’m looking forward to trying again, to see if I get similar results. Based on this one-time experiment, I would definitely consider Hammer Gel in the future, especially if it’s price is comparable to Gu. It’s always nice to have multiple option. I would happily recommend Hammer Gel to long-distance runners or other endurance athletes.
For Your Comparison:
Disclaimer: I got this product free through my training group, but received no compensation. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.