Jellybeans: The Next Superfood?

I love long runs. I love them so much that I do one almost every week, even when (like now) I am not training for any distance races. I get into a zone during a long run that clears my mind like nothing else. Nothing. And I have found that it is all in the mindset – if I leave my house for a long (11+ mile) run, the run is no harder for me than a short or medium run. Different, but not really harder. It’s almost like a different form of exercise for me.

Except for one thing. I have the world’s most sensitive stomach.  And I know that if you are running for more than an hour or so, you really should replenish fluids and eat some carbs to keep you going.  I can drink water without problems, but energy chews and gatorade usually leave me heaving by the side of the road.  Not a pretty picture, especially when it is in front of people trying to walk their dogs.  I mean, it is one thing at a competitive race, but for a weekday neighborhood run, it is just downright embarrassing. This has been a big struggle for me as I have increased distances over the past year.  Sometimes I can eat the chews ok, but it is a tough gamble to take and one I never want to take during a race.  Most of my races, I just stick with water during the race and fuel up as quickly as possible afterward.  It has worked ok so far, but I want to run a marathon this year and I can’t see sticking to water for 26.2 miles and managing ok.

Enter the mighty jellybean.  I read somewhere that people with high maintenance stomachs sometimes just take gummy bears or jellybeans with them for a pick-me-up during long runs.  I tried gummy bears once and I tolerated them better than the energy chews, but they did make me a feel a little nauseous (maybe it’s the gelatin itself?  I’m not a fan of Jello, so it isn’t something I consume much).  Today I decided to give jellybeans a whirl – success!

Since late last year, I have been taking one run a week and leaving it pretty unstructured, meaning I head out with plans for a long run, but don’t map it out ahead of time – I just kind of go where the roads lead me.  If I feel poorly, I head home sooner; if I feel good, I run until I really start to tire or until I run out of time, whichever comes first.  The past few weeks, I have run long distances (13-16 miles) without eating anything during the run and have felt pretty wrecked by the end – my energy stores were ready to give up long before my legs and mind were.  Can I get the run in?  Sure.  But not the way I want to do it, especially as I prepare to boost my running even more.

Today I took some jellybeans with me on my run and was pleasantly surprised by how well I tolerated them – no nausea or sick stomach, and I really felt the little energy boosts I got from eating them.  I know that they are lacking the electrolytes and other good stuff that are present in the energy chews, but at least they have calories and carbs, and, more importantly, I can keep them down.  Will continue to look for something else that works, but relieved to have at least one energy source I am comfortable with.

I was happy to wrap up today’s run due to time constraints, not exhaustion, and to still feel really good at the end.  And the kicker?  When I mapped the run, it was just over 17 miles.  Longest run I have ever done and I felt great both during it and afterward. Long live the mighty jellybean!

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13 thoughts on “Jellybeans: The Next Superfood?

  1. I am so proud of you Tina. So proud. Here’s the funny thing- I’m not sure you even know how good of a runner you really are? This year is going to really open up your eyes T. Most important- I am THRILLED you found something to eat. Seriously. Depleting your glycogen without re-fueling is NOT a good thing. So glad you weren’t running on empty. You’ll soar now. Even more so than before. Jelly Belly Sports Beans are my go to bean. Just sayin’. Love them. (And as a side bar- they don’t pay me a dime. However if they wanna….. 😉 )

  2. I swam the equivalent of an ultramarathon last summer and my favorite and most tolerable food item during training and the race was Trader Joe’s All Natural Fruit Jellies. I swear by ’em!

  3. Congrats on your longest run! Have you tries Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews? I have friends who can’t tolerate much when they run long and they say they don’t upset their stomaches. They are super yummy and come in different flavors (hello pink lemonade!).

  4. I’m with you on Jelly Beans but have a problem with how to store and access them. They’re tiny, they stick together, they won’t come out of the packet. I have a concept at the back of my mind which one day will address this problem and make me a running millionaire. In the meantime will have to make do with spilling them all over the pavement.

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  6. I will have to try jelly beans. Gummy bears were working better for me than Gu. I also have had a little with Honey Stinger chews but they are a bit sweet for me. (Cannot do them for 15 miles. ) Sports beans are alright but I have not found a flavor I really like yet.

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